Spaghetti with slow-cooked cauliflower & broccoli


We are eating broccoli, snow peas, asparagus and avocados at the moment and lots of them.  The other day, Maus even said that she was sick of avocados.  Now that is a problem.  We have two trees laden with the buggers.  It is near the end of the season, though.  Soon she will be spared.  It will be tomatoes with this and cucumbers with that.

The broccoli situation, as I predicted, is serious.  As with everything you grow, it came all at once.  In one week, I picked seven broccoli heads.  Luckily, I saw enough people to find homes for them all.

Anyway, there I was, again, on Eat Your Books, looking for recipes that featured either snow peas or broccoli.  I didn’t find any snow pea recipe that appealed, apart from the chicken with cashew nuts and snow peas which I have already blogged about and which we have had several times this year.

I started searching for broccoli and began to notice a pattern.  I had nearly 20 recipes for a pasta dish with broccoli and anchovies.  It turns out that this is a popular Italian pasta combination.  In the book, Two Greedy Italians, the authors note that this dish is eaten in Puglia during Saints’ festivals such as those for Saint Nicolas and Saint Pio.  In Puglia, it is made with cime di rapa (which Google tells me, is turnip greens) but they  substitute the greens with broccoli and also suggest, as an alternative, purple sprouting broccoli.  I am sure you could use broccolini too.

I decided to try the combination and, eventually, settled on a recipe from Issue 128 of Cuisine magazine.  I was not surprised when I went to the magazine to find that the recipe was by Ray McVinnie.  Just about every recipe I have made from Cuisine magazine has been a Ray McVinnie contribution.  I obviously like his style.  Ray McVinnie is a New Zealand chef and a judge on NZ Master Chef.

The recipe serves 4+.  I halved it and we had enough for our dinner and my lunch the next day.  The recipe uses both cauliflower and broccoli but, as the main purpose in making the dish was to use up the broccoli, I made our dinner all broccoli.

This recipe is not going to knock your socks off but the flavours most certainly compliment each other.  The saltiness of the anchovies contrasts well with the bittersweet broccoli.  I will make it again next year when we have broccoli galore.


  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve, if you like
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 350g each cauliflower and broccoli florets (I used all broccoli)
  • 10 anchovy fillets, halved
  • peel of 1 preserved lemon, finely diced
  • 1 cup black olives
  • salt and black pepper
  • 400g spaghetti
  • parmesan cheese, to serve


  1. Put the olive oil into a large saucepan and add the garlic, cauliflower, broccoli and ½ cup of water.
  2. Place on moderate heat and cover.  When you hear it start to fry, turn the heat down to low and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and collapsing.
  3. Remove from the heat, uncover and add the anchovies, lemon and olives.  Mix well, taste and season.
  4. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the spaghetti.  Remove from the heat and drain well.
  5. Add the vegetable mixture to the pasta, mix well and serve, drizzled with a little more oil and grated parmesan.

12 thoughts on “Spaghetti with slow-cooked cauliflower & broccoli

  1. What is snow pea. I used to have an allotment but I used to have drive there at 4-30 am before driving home and then driving to teh station to commute to London – was too much

    • Hi Simon, a snow pea is a pea with an edible pod that is usually eaten before it is ripe and the peas have formed. They are similar to snap peas. They are very popular in Australia and can be readily found in supermarkets.

  2. Making me hungry Glenda, the food looks delicious. If I were your neighbor I would happily have some of your avocados… don’t think I would every tire of eating them 🙂

  3. I would have been happy with just the broccoli and cauliflower in my pasta. I prepare it all of the time. Adding the anchovies, though, is a very tasty alternative. I cannot wait to give it a go. Thanks, Glenda.

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