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Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower, Bacon and Peas
This recipe utilizes the natural sweetness in cauliflower and onions. It really shines through when you slowly sauté them so that their sugars caramelize. Even confirmed cauliflower haters will like this recipe. Its a quick and easy one dish meal that would be perfect to make for a weekday family meal but is still luscious enough to serve to guests.
When shopping for cauliflower make sure to choose heads that are snowy white with no brown patches. The surface of the cauliflower should be firm with the "flowers" tight against each other.
This will make enough pasta to feed 4 to 6 people, depending on the portion sizes.
- Olive Oil
- 1/2 Head Cauliflower sliced into bite sized pieces
- 2 good sized onions, cut in half and then thinly sliced
- 125 grams or about 4 1/2 oz. of finely Chopped Bacon
- 4-5 Cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Cup Chicken Broth
- 1 cup Frozen Peas
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Freshly grated Parmasan Cheese
- 500 gr. or 1 lbs. Pasta
Slice the cauliflower in half then break it up into large segments of florets. Slice these into bite size pieces. A flat surface makes it much easier for the pieces of cauliflower to come into full contact with the heat of the pan and it will caramelize more intensely. Prepare the rest of the ingredients as mentioned above. In Germany, bacon is sold already diced but you could achieve the same effect by buying thick sliced bacon then cutting it up yourself. If it seems too fatty, trim some of the excess away.
Set a large pot filled with water on the stove. Add a good handful of salt (I like sea salt) and turn up the heat to bring it to a boil.
Add a couple of glugs of olive to a large sauté pan. Set your stove to medium high. When the pan is hot add the cauliflower. You want it just hot enough to brown the cauliflower when left untouched for a minute or two but not hot enough to burn it. So check to see whether or not you need to adjust your heat. You don't want to be stirring constantly, only once every few minutes or so. Once the cauliflower has started to brown add the sliced onion. Give it a good stir and let it begin to caramelize as well.
About here is when I usually add the pasta to the water. But that depends a lot on what kind of pasta you've chosen. I like spaghetti for this recipe which only takes about 7-8 minutes to cook.
When both the cauliflower and onions are golden brown add the bacon and let it crisp up for a minute or two. Add the garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds or so then add the chicken broth. Let that simmer for just a minute then add the peas. These should cook just long enough to get the cold out of them not to the point when they start to shrivel and pucker.
Drain the pasta and put it in a serving bowl. Taste the sauce to see if it needs more salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix well. Sprinkle with fresh parmasan and serve. I also like to add more parmasan to each individual serving.