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

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Bacon

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Oven-roasted, fresh cauliflower, crisp bacon and cherry tomatoes tossed with your favorite cut of pasta makes an easy, one-dish dinner.

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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. To serve, divide the pasta between 4 plates and top with grated Parmesan.

Notes

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.