Spaghetti with Cauliflower and Speck

November 8, 2011

Ok I confess. I’ve been totally whoring myself on carbs lately like nobody’s business. If it ain’t rice or noodles, it’s pasta that I’ve been frequently dumping my face into and most of the time, while sitting on my tired arse in front of the tv. Pasta is no doubt, my never-fail tv dinner.

With summer roaring in, it’s definitely too crazy for pasta with heavy sauces. Don’t get me wrong, I would die without my ragu bolognese but I ain’t no masochist in this heat so lighter options are now my favourites, such as those that are simply tossed in olive oil and fresh ingredients (such as this citrusy number).

I know it’s easy to dismiss a plain jane vegetable like cauliflower but there’s so much pleasure to be had if it’s cooked properly to retain its natural sweetness (big fat no no to bland ‘choking hazards’ in stir fries!). Yes it’s a damn bitch to cut those giant heads into gob-friendly sized florets and even more tedious to clean up its debris.

But trust me it’s worth it. Especially when you toast it until it’s gloriously golden and caramelised. And it doesn’t stop there. Add some smokey, salty speck, a burst of lemon, a touch of chilli and garlic (or in my case, a sadistic hit) and then finally, finish it off with a healthy lashing of parsley and there you have it; TV dinner at its most awesome.

Spaghetti with Cauliflower and Speck
Serves 4
This is more of a guide than an exact recipe so go nuts with it. Use your favourite pasta, add more or less cauliflower/speck, go crazy with garlic or chilli if that’s your thing, make it more citrusy, change up the herbs (chives maybe?) or use a different cheese. Play with it however you wish.
  1. 400g dried spaghetti
  2. 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  3. 30g butter
  4. 2 Tbl of olive oil
  5. 250g speck, rind removed and cut into batons
  6. 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (depends on your garlic tolerance level)
  7. 1 small red chilli, deseeded finely chopped
  8. 1/4 cup of white wine
  9. Zest of one lemon
  10. 1 Tbl lemon juice
  11. Flat-leaf parsley
  12. Parmesan
  1. Cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water and drain, reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add a splash of olive oil to the pasta and toss to coat to prevent from sticking together while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a large pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat until foamy then throw in the cauliflower florets. Season with a little sea salt and sauté until cauliflower is cooked and toasty brown and caramelised (about 10 minutes). Remove the cauliflower and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in the same pan over medium heat then fry the speck until browned. Throw in the garlic and chilli and cook until the garlic is lightly browned.
  4. Deglaze pan with the wine and cook until wine is mostly reduced then add the zest, lemon juice and cooked cauliflower.
  5. Add in the cooked pasta and toss well to coat in the sauce adding the reserved pasta water bit by bit for lubrication if you need it. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper and remove from heat.
  6. Roughly chop up as much parsley as you like then toss through the pasta. Grate some parmesan over, put your feet up then greedily tuck in (directly from the pan if you feel so inclined).
Citrus and Candy

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Farm Marketing Solution March 8, 2013 at 15:55

I made lemon spaghetti in an early season of ‘Everyday Italian,’ and to this day people still come up to me and say they love it. It’s very, very simple. Basically, you cook the pasta and mix together Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and zest and pour it over the pasta.


Charlotte June 27, 2012 at 22:38

Delicious recipie, thanks! Will make again.


Kelli Morse February 20, 2012 at 20:10

Loving your photos! I think we all love some carb-y goodness! I’ve only had it a few times, but its so yummy. I swear I could eat a pound of it, if I let myself.


Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) February 9, 2012 at 13:17

I totally agree! Haha — the combination of pasta and TV is dangerous for me. I can consume way more than my fair portion. It’s so comforting and delicious. I am a carb-oholic.

This pasta looks great! I’ve had speck a handful of times and always loved it. And cauliflower is definitely one of my favorite winter veggies! Great photos, thanks for sharing :)


Alisha Fuentes December 10, 2011 at 13:48

I’m with you on the carb love, I especially love me some good pasta action and would also die a slow death from lack of slow cooked ragu, but luckily fresh pestos and new combos keep the pasta lovin alive! wow, this looks fantastic!


catty November 15, 2011 at 17:43

I’m also into pasta any time anywhere. And cauliflowers… when baked with cheese lol. No really, I havent had them caramelised before but that sounds pretty good!!


Dolly November 14, 2011 at 12:41

god that looks delicious.. totally would trade my lunch in for your spaghetti!!


Gosia November 13, 2011 at 22:32

wow, this looks fantastic!


maddiee November 12, 2011 at 14:16

YUM! I think we all love some carb-y goodness! and what’s speck? is it similar to bacon and can you buy it from regular delis? thankss!


Citrus and Candy November 12, 2011 at 18:40

Hi there! Yep speck is pretty much like an unsliced slab of bacon but smokier depending on which brand you buy. It should be available in delis (I got mine from a supermarket). Also feel free to substitute with a slab of pancetta or smoky uncut bacon :)


Hotly Spiced November 12, 2011 at 07:02

This is a great recipe and I will definitely cook this. Love your photography.


jas November 11, 2011 at 12:51

yum! I love veggies in pasta and cauliflower is no exception. I’m with you on the carb love, I especially love me some good pasta action and would also die a slow death from lack of slow cooked ragu, but luckily fresh pestos and new combos keep the pasta lovin alive!


Christina @ The Hungry Australian November 10, 2011 at 20:13

Karen – that looks amaaaaaazing!! Beautiful photographs, as always. And I think the combination of flavours would be spectacular.

I’m having a bit of a carb festival down in Adelaide myself – can’t seem to get enough of noodles and rice at the moment. Not to mention cake, biscuits and bread. It this keeps up, I’m going to be in serious trouble soon :)


Kali November 10, 2011 at 00:40

Looks delish! Pasta is also my weakness and I love cauliflower so this just may end up on the dinner table one day this week! Such a simple dish. Seems so light yet so satisfying! Thanks for sharing!


sara November 9, 2011 at 15:38

This looks amazing! I am so trying this – I love new pasta dishes. :)


Nic@diningwithastud November 9, 2011 at 09:30

Oh how I miss carbs :( I love the use of cauliflower in this – so quick and easy but packed with flavour. NOM


Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) November 9, 2011 at 08:39

Totally agree!!! Pasta is my favorite tv dinner. I swear I could eat a pound of it, if I let myself. Nothing is more comforting or delicious, in my opinion.

Love the combination of flavors in this dish–I have already bookmarked it–speck is delicious! I’ve only had it a few times, but its so yummy.


Sasha (Global Table Adventure) November 9, 2011 at 06:33

This is epic as far as TV dinners go? I approve. Although I sort of wish it was in a divided, microwavable tray. Oh wait, no I don’t. ;)


Miss T November 8, 2011 at 21:05

Stop it this instant. Im hungry!


Jacq November 8, 2011 at 16:13

Nothing like a big bowl of carbs and some tv to round off the day – not to mention the blissful carb-induced sleep that follows! Loving your photos!


Michael November 8, 2011 at 12:42

This looks delicious!

I wonder if the spaghetti could be replaced with udon noodles. So good


Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) November 8, 2011 at 12:04

I have the same issues with chopping up broccoli – all the wasted little bits fallen everywhere!

But speck/bacon fixes everything, right?


Natashia@foodonpaper November 8, 2011 at 11:23

I’ve been consuming boat loads of carbs lately too.. it’s just so easy! And the best food ever. :) I really like the look of this dish, light and fresh for summer..


Tina @ bitemeshowme November 8, 2011 at 08:58

Looks so simple and so fresh! Love how you’re positng recipes that are perfect for the up and coming summer :D


Steph November 8, 2011 at 08:15

Goddamn I love cauliflower. It’s such an underrated vegetable. I am so making this for dinner this week!


dayle November 8, 2011 at 08:03

go the carbs…delicious stuff! i have a weakness for carbs too altho i am trying to move myself into salad territory!…lovely images…i would happily eat a bowl of this! dayle


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