May 6, 2011

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Bacon

So when I took my epic trip to Whole Foods to find farro, I also had to go up and down every aisle to see if there was anything else I couldn't live without, because making the trek to Whole Foods is a special occasion. (And I had a gift card from the VW dealership for getting Zeppy's oil changed last year, so I had to be sure I had enough groceries to use up the gift card, obvi.)

One of my finds was a bag of spinach, tomato and regular pasta shells from Whole Food's 365 brand. I have been dying to use them for something because they are so cute and colorful. I also wanted to use bacon from the package I opened for this dish earlier in the week. And what goes well with bacon (um, everything?) - cauliflower! Giant had giant (yes, my vocabulary is limited) cauliflower on sale this past weekend.

And thus, with only about five ingredients, a dinner was made.

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Bacon
Serves 3


1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-5 slices bacon, diced
1/2 pound dried pasta, any shape, but one that can "catch" the bacon is best
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Toss cauliflower with couple tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and liberally salt it. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving at least 2 cups of the cooking water, and set aside.

4. While the pasta is cooking, in a heavy, cast iron pan/pot/braiser, warm enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. Cook the bacon until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove the pan from heat and let cool slightly. Add 1/2 cup - 1 cup of the pasta water to the pan and deglaze, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon.

5. When the cauliflower is done roasting (or a minute or two before), return the bacon pan to medium/medium high heat and add the cauliflower. Cook for another minute or two, add the drained pasta and combine. Add more pasta water if necessary. Remove from the heat and stir in some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the bacon on top.

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