We were inspired by a recipe printed in the Wall Street Journal (issue 3/1/20) by Chef Philip Krajeck (Rolf and Daughters and Folk, Nashville TN visited by Serious Foodie Nov 2019) who uses a bunch of simple, easily obtainable ingredients to make an elegant healthy dish.

We went to our pantry – no anchovies, but we had a bottle of beautiful Tonnino tuna in olive oil.  Then we checked out our fridge – no cauliflower, but we had a head of broccoflower.  No problem!

In fact, one of our go-to at home recipes comes from Mama Foodie’s cookbook – a depression era pasta dish with tuna, fresh tomato, garlic, olive oil, and capers.  So we decided to take the best of both Chef Krajeck and Mama Foodie, and combine them into our version of this delicious healthy-ish meal.

Rigatoni with Cauliflower, Tuna, and Lemon Ragout

This easy recipe uses easy to get ingredients, and simple techniques to create a truly outstanding, delicious healthy-ish meal.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people


  • 1 head broccoflower florets and tender stalks cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 5 cloves fennel thinly slice 3 cloves, peel the other 2
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 pieces bread, toasted Tear or cut into cubes
  • 1 container tuna We used 1 bottle of Tonnino tuna in olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes More or less to taste
  • 12 ounces rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon capers optional
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • Grated Parmigiano To taste
  • Kosher sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Add 1/4 cup of salt to at least 4 quarts of wate, and bring to a boil.
  • Toss the broccoflower with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt. Place in a roasting pan with 2 cloves of garlic. Roast in the oven on the lower rack about 20 minutes, or until the edges get browned.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook until slightly underdone.
  • Pour the remainder of the olive oil in a sauce pan, and heat over medium. When hot, add in the tuna, garlic, and chili flakes. Saute for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the broccoflower and roasted garlic, and the lemon zest.
  • Add in the underdone pasta to the sauce, along with 1 to 2 ladles of pasta water. Stir in the butter, and cook until the pasta absorbs all the water. You may need to add splashes of more pasta water as needed to create a sauce that thoroughly coats the pasta. Add in the optional capers.
  • Off the heat, stir in half the parsley, Parmigiano, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Top with bread crumbs and remaining parsley. Have some additional chili flakes and Parmigiano for those who want a bit more.
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