Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.
4 generous servings
- 3 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large head cauliflower (3 pounds), cored and cut into 1-inch florets
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- 1 pound campanelle pasta (I prefer Fusilli or Rigatone)
- 5.5 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (I use water)
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Bacon Panko Topping
- Cook bacon in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. (I remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat).
- Add panko and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until panko is well browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Transfer Panko mixture to bowl and set aside. Wipe out the skillet.
I’ve had mixed results cooking the cauliflower the way the recipe is written below, possibly because I don’t have a 12-inch skillet. Instead, I toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt and roast in a 450 degree oven until browned, stirring half way through, approximately 15 minutes.
- Heat 5 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Add cauliflower and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is crisp-tender and browned in spots, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
- Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.
- Add onion, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened, 4 to 7 minutes.
- Increase heat to high, add pasta, broth, and wine, and bring to simmer. Cook pasta (maintaining a boil), stirring frequently, until most of liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. It’s ok if there is a good amount of liquid still in the pot when the pasta is done, as it will serve as the pasta sauce.
- Remove pot from heat; stir in parsley, lemon juice, and cauliflower; and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the pasta among 4 plates and sprinkle with bread crumb topping.