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pasta 'ncasciata 
cheesy Sicilian baked pasta 

serve 6 - 8

1 cauliflower (about 2 lbs or 1 kg)

1 onion

2-3 anchovy filets

pinch of saffron threads

1 Tbs raisin

s1 Tbs pine nuts, optional

350 g bucatini (or other long pasta)

big handful of grated pecorino cheese

handful of chunks of caciocavallo aka provola cheese or scamorza

2 eggs

ground black peppe

rbread crumbs

extra virgin olive oil [like OdD laStoria Sicilian olio]


Chop the onion and sautèe in a few tablespoons of olive oil, when the onion is transluscent add the anchovy filets and let them melt into the onions. Boil the cauliflower florets in salted water until they are easily smashed with a fork. Remove the cauliflower and keep the water it was boiled in.
Let the raisins soften in a few tablespoons of the hot cauliflower water. Soak the saffron threads in a few tablespoons of the hot cauliflower water. Boil the pasta in the cauliflower water until it is about halfway done.   
In a big mixing bowl, smash the cauliflower with the back of a fork, add the onions and anchovy mix, the raisins with their water and the saffron with its water. Stir in the grated pecorino, the pieces of caciocavallo and some black pepper.
Lift the pasta from the water directly into the cauliflower mix, stir to coat, add two beaten eggs and mix well.
Oil a 9x13 lasagne dish, coat with breadcrumbs and fill with the pasta mix. Pat the pasta down to make sure it’s compact, cover with grated pecorino, a few tablespoons of olive oil and some bread crumbs.

Bake at 180C/350F for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve hot or warm with a swirl of olive oil.

This is a winter version of baked pasta, a summer version has a base of eggplant and tomato sauce.

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