Saffron Cavatelli with Anchovy, Cauliflower and Sultana Raisins


  • 2 grams saffron, toasted
  • 200 grams water
  • 200 grams semolina rimacinata
  • 200 grams semolina flour
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 12 salt-cured anchovies, rinsed, filleted and minced
  • 10 black peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 1 cup cream
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • ¼ cup Sultana raisins, plumped, recipe follows
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted


Bloom saffron in water headed to 120 F. Combine flours and stir in saffron water. Let stand 1 hour. Cut into cavatelli.

In a large saute pan, combine oil, garlic, anchovies, peppercorns, bay leaf and red chili flakes. Heat to 160 F and toast 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally to encourage even cooking; cool and discard bay leaf.

Remove florets from cauliflower and cut to size of a nickel; roast and set aside. Slice remainder into rings approximately ¼-inch thick and place in large saucepan. Add cream, lemon juice and enough salted water to cover. Cook until cauliflower is tender; correct seasonings and puree.

At service, cook cavatelli in salted water. Transfer to a large saute pan with enough pasta water to cover the bottom of the pan approximately ¼-inch deep. Add anchovy essence, and over medium heat, toss pasta as the water evaporates and an emulsion is formed. 

Add raisins with 1 tablespoon of the raisin liquid, pine nuts and roasted cauliflower florets. Spoon 3 tablespoons cauliflower puree onto the plate. Spoon cavatelli into the middle of the cauliflower puree. Makes 4 servings.

To plump Sultana raisins, bring them to a boil with ¼ cup white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons verjus, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons sugar. Simmer for 2 minutes, drain and reserve liquid.

Chef de Cuisine Merick Devine, Frasca, Boulder, Colorado