Bucatini with Cauliflower, a Vegetarian Pasta Recipe from Cooking with Nonna

Bucatini with Cauliflower, Cooking with Nonna, QuartoCooks, AD

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I shared my thoughts earlier in the week about a new cookbook called Sally’s Cookie Addiction and showed you a recipe for Autumn Spice Oatmeal Cookies. Today I’m going to offer my thoughts on another great cookbook from Quarto Cooks – Cooking with Nonna by Rossella Rago. It was sent to me at no charge for my honest review. I’m also showcasing a vegetarian pasta recipe – Bucatini with Cauliflower. I was excited as it allowed me to work with a new type of pasta. I’ve never had bucatini before – neither had the hubby.

Bucatini with Cauliflower, Cooking with Nonna, QuartoCooks, AD

Table of Contents

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you buy from my link I might make a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay. See the full affiliate disclosure here.

About Cooking with Nonna:

Learn to cook classic Italian recipes like a native with the long-awaited debut cookbook from Rossella Rago, creator of the popular web TV series Cooking with Nonna!

For Rossella Rago, creator and host of Cooking with Nonna TV, Italian cooking was never just about the amazing food or Sunday dinner; it was also about family, community, and tradition. Rossella grew up cooking with her Nonna Romana every Sunday and on holidays, learning the traditional recipes of the Italian region of Puglia, like focacciabraciolezucchine alla poverella, and pizza rustica.

In her popular web TV series, Rossella invites Italian-American grandmothers (the unsung heroes of the culinary world) to cook with her, learning the classic dishes and flavors of each region of Italy and sharing them with eager fans all over the world. Now you can take a culinary journey through Italy with Rossella and her debut cookbook, Cooking with Nonna, featuring over 100 classic Italian recipes, along with advice and stories from 25 beloved Italian grandmothers.

With easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions and mouthwatering photos, Cooking with Nonna covers appetizers, soups, salads, pasta, meats, breads, cookies, and desserts, and features favorite recipes including:

  • Sicilian Rice Balls
  • Fried Calamari
  • Stuffed Artichokes
  • Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe
  • Veal Stew in a Polenta Bowl
  • Struffoli
  • Ricotta Cookies
  • Homemade Pasta
  • Handcrafted Spaghetti with Meatballs
  • Four-Cheer Lasagna

If you are ready to bring back Sunday dinner and learn how to make Italian food just like nonna, then look no further!


About the Author:

Rossella Rago is the host of the popular web cooking show Cooking With Nonna. On the show, Rossella invites an Italian-American nonna to cook with her, sharing traditional Italian recipes and fond memories of childhoods in Italy. Rossella has traveled the country and performed cooking demonstrations in many cities across the United States with local nonnas as her partners.

In 2010, Rossella, together with her mother and her Nonna Romana, participated in the “Italiano Battle” episode of the Food Network’s 24 Hour Restaurant Battle; Team Nonna won. Rossella spent her childhood in the kitchen with her maternal Nonna Romana, learning the long legacy of recipes from Puglia passed down through the generations for centuries. Launching Cooking with Nonna has allowed Rossella to expand her culinary expertise to much of the rest of Italy.

My Opinion:

This is a beautiful book. If there is one thing I love in a cookbook it’s lots of photos and Cooking with Nonna delivers. These are not fancy recipes as I am sure you can figure out by the title. These are family recipes, the type of food you get when you go for dinner at well, grandma’s house.

The book is broken down into the classic divisions; appetizers, soups and salads, pasta, main dishes, meats, desserts, etc. There are over 100 recipes and they represent all traditions of Italian cooking. The recipes are easy to follow and as far as I could tell there are no complicated techniques or crazy ingredients needed to present these foods to your family.

Each recipe starts with a story of its origin which makes it much more personal. I always enjoy when there is a tale behind something I am cooking. This is a happy cookbook.



Bucatini with Cauliflower, Cooking with Nonna, QuartoCooks, AD

Bucatini with Cauliflower

(the printable recipe is at the bottom of the post, after the giveaway)

7 TBS extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 head cauliflower, about 2lbs trimmed into 1″ florets
1 large onion cut into 1/4″ dice
3 bay leaves
3 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
2 tsp tomato paste, or tomato concentrate
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb dried bucatini to taste

Bucatini with Cauliflower, Cooking with Nonna, QuartoCooks, AD

Add 2 TBS of the oil and the bread crumbs to a saute pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the bread crumbs turn a golden brown. The difference between brown and burned is the blink of an eye so watch carefully.
Remove the bread crumbs to a bowl and set aside.
Bring a large stockpot (6 quart) of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and cook, covered for 5 minutes. Remove the cauliflower to a bowl and keep the water to cook the pasta later.

Bucatini with Cauliflower, Cooking with Nonna, QuartoCooks, AD
Heat 4 TBS of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.until the onion begins to color. Add the bay leaves, tomato paste, anchovies, raisins and pine nuts. Stir to combine.
Add the cauliflower and about a cup and a half of the water used to cook the florets. Stir so the tomato paste is fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper
Cover the pan and let cook until the cauliflower is tender and most of the liquid is evaporated. Check it now and then and if needed add a little more cauliflower liquid.
Bring the water to a boil and cook the bucatini according to package directions until it is al dente.
Drain and add to the pan with the cauliflower. Gently mix in. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and stir.

Bucatini with Cauliflower, Cooking with Nonna, QuartoCooks, AD
Top with the toasted bread crumbs.

How was the Bucatini with Cauliflower?

There were two reasons I chose to make this recipe out of all of the delicious looking recipes in this cookbook – it was one of our vegetarian nights for dinner and I had never had bucatini before. We eat meatless every other night now.

Bucatini with Cauliflower, Cooking with Nonna, QuartoCooks, AD

My KitchenAid pasta press has 5 dies and one of them is for bucatini. I had no idea what this pasta was so the convergence of this recipe and wanting to further experiment with my pasta press worked beautifully. This is a hearty pasta and it does take a little longer to cook than spaghetti. It is very tasty.

Bucatini with Cauliflower, Cooking with Nonna, QuartoCooks, AD

The Bucatini with Cauliflower is a wonderful winter dinner. The raisins show up as a surprise little sweet bite here and there. The pine nuts add an earthy flavor.



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