Sunday, June 23 2024

Pasta with broccoli arriminati is one of those Sicilian recipes that cannot be more typical.

Although it does not have the same notoriety as pasta with sardines, it represents one of the best known dishes in Sicily for its incredible goodness.

Before moving on to the description of the recipe it is necessary to make two very brief clarifications.

The term arriminati refers to the act of stirring by which the sauce composed of broccoli sweetened by raisins, pine nuts and onion that enhance its taste, saffron that colors and perfumes it, and salted sardines that give it a strong and decisive flavor is made creamy.
When people talk about broccoli, they are referring to cauliflower.

So as not to run the risk of buying one ingredient instead of another, let’s clarify that in Sicily, and more precisely in the province of Palermo, the term “sparacelli” refers to Sicilian broccoli (the broccoli cabbage); instead, broccoli is that vegetable that, in the rest of Italy, is usually known as cauliflower.

Pasta with broccoli arriminati has many variations depending on the province in which we happen to taste it.

Therefore, it can happen to be eaten with white or green broccoli, with tomato extract or plain, with saffron or without, with “muddica atturrata” (toasted breadcrumbs) or without.









  • 2 lb (900 g) green cauliflower
  • salt to taste
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • crushed red pepper
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 2 oz (60 g) pine nuts
  • 2 oz (60 g) dark raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron powder, dissolved in 1 – 2 tablespoons of warm water
  • 1 lb (450 g) penne or fusilli pasta




To clean the cauliflower, cut out the bottom of the cauliflower.

Eliminate the tough green leaves. Carve out the center.

Cut the cauliflower in half.

Separate the florets and cut in 2” (5 cm) pieces.

Green tender leaves can be used. Place the pieces in a bowl full of fresh water. Wash and drain.

Fill a large stockpot with water and bring it to a boil; add the cauliflower and salt.

Cook for about 5 minutes, until the cauliflower is half-cooked and not yet fully tender.

Drain the cauliflower with the help of a large slotted spoon. Reserve the cooking water.

Pour the olive oil in a medium-size saucepan and turn the heat to medium.

Add the onion, generous red pepper, and sauté gently until the onion becomes soft and translucent.

Turn off the heat. Add the anchovies fillets to the pan.

Quickly stir and break the anchovies with a fork to dissolve them.

When adding the anchovies, don’t let them cook. Otherwise they will burn, giving the dish a very strong tang.

Turn the heat to medium, add pine nuts, raisins, saffron and cauliflower.

Mix to combine and sauté briefly.

Anchovies can be very salty, so adjust the salt at this point if necessary.

If the sauce is too thick, add about 1 cup of the cauliflower cooking water.

Bring the stockpot with the reserved cauliflower cooking water to a boil.

Cook the pasta in the cauliflower cooking water following manufacturer’s instructions.

Taste for readiness from time to time until al dente (firm but not too soft or overcooked).

Drain and transfer to a bowl.

Top with the sauce, toss, and set aside.

Serve lukewarm.


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