Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Bacon

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Bacon

Fresh cauliflower develops a wonderful sweetness when roasted at a high heat and combined with crisp bacon, lots of garlic and sweet cherry tomatoes, it makes a delicious basis for an easy and flavorful pasta dinner.

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Bacon

  • Ingredients:
  • 10 ounces pasta (penne, rotini)
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, separated into florets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 pint cherry (or grape) tomatoes, halved
  • Parmesan cheese for grating

Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat a shallow baking pan with nonstick spray. Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

Place the cauliflower in a large bowl, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, transfer to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer.

Roast until the florets are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife and the edges begin to turn golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the cauliflower roasts, fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain the excess fat from the pan, but don't wipe it out.

Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Add the tomatoes, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook just long enough for the tomatoes to soften but not break down, 2 to 3 minutes.

Cook and drain the pasta according to package directions. Add the cauliflower and bacon, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the tomato mixture and toss again.

To serve, divide the pasta between 4 plates and top with grated Parmesan.

Makes 4 servings

Cooking Tip:
Whenever a dish includes bacon, be a little conservative with the salt when you season the various other elements of the dish. Once all the components are pulled together, you can always add a little extra, but if you add too much to start out with, the addition of bacon may be pushing the limits.

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