The combination of chilli, pine nuts, lemon and currants in this Sicilian Romanesco dish is often found in traditional Sicilian cuisine – the influence of trade across the Mediterranean from the East. It gives a lovely sweet-and-sour combination. You can use ordinary couscous but giant couscous, which can often be found in large supermarkets, is even better.

serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
Sicilian Romanesco

  • 150–200g couscous, depending on appetite
  • 1 romanesco or cauliflower, cut into even, bite-sized florets
  • a generous slug of good olive oil
  • 25g currants
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • sunflower or light olive oil, for frying
  • salt and black pepper


  1. Heat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. If you’re using normal couscous, spread it out in a roasting pan, just cover it with boiling water and a pinch of salt and leave it for 30 minutes, then fluff it up with a fork. If you’re using giant couscous, follow the instructions on the packet.
  2. Meanwhile, toss the florets with the oil, salt and pepper. Spread out evenly on a roasting tray and roast for 10–15 minutes until tender and just beginning to brown.
  3. While the florets are roasting, soak the currants in boiling water for about 10 minutes to plump them up, then drain. Toss the pine nuts into a small dry frying pan and heat them gently, stirring often, for a couple of minutes until they start to turn golden. Remove from the heat and tip into a small bowl to stop them cooking.
  4. Put the couscous in a large mixing bowl and stir in the currants, pine nuts, chilli, lemon zest, parsley and enough oil to give it a good gloss. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then gently stir in the romanesco.

This makes a really good pasta dish with cooked penne or fusilli replacing the couscous.

Please credit all recipes to

Leave a Comment