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Autumn Pasta Sauce of Cauliflower and Apples

Cauliflower and Apple Pasta Sauce recipe
Judy Kim


  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 12 ounces whole wheat or tricolored penne
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 apples
  • ¼ cup sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Chef notes

    When the temperatures drop, try this unique sauce, with cauliflower and orchard-fresh apples, over penne for a hearty fall entree.



    To toast the pine nuts: Heat a small, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts, and toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden brown, about 4 minutes.Set aside.


    While the pine nuts are toasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving ¾ cup of the pasta water, and return the pasta to the pot.


    While the pasta is cooking, in a large, heavy skillet or saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and anchovies and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is lightly golden brown and the anchovies have mostly disintegrated into the oil, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and continue to cook, stirring until ingredients are fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add the apples and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Cover and steam until cauliflower is fork tender, 5 to 7 minutes.


    Uncover and increase the heat to medium-high. Continue to cook, stirring often, until most of the water has evaporated. (If the sauce seems too dry, stir in some of the reserved pasta water, as needed.) Add the sage and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 2 more minutes and then remove from the heat. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over individual bowls of pasta and garnish with the toasted pine nuts.