Well, I finally bought the cookbook last weekend and spent all Saturday and Sunday looking through it and marking the recipes that caught my eye. I had all the ingredients for this one, so I made it for dinner this week. I have to say that there hasn't been a Rachael Ray recipe that has disappointed me yet. This one was no exception.
The pasta was coated with a creamy cheesy sauce, studded with salty bites of bacon (I subbed in thick cut bacon, for the pancetta) and crispy bites of cauliflower. I really love the combination of rosemary and nutmeg with the cauliflower and bacon. It added a nice home-y warmth to the dish. I sadly did not use whole wheat pasta, since Hubby and the kids are not ready to take that step to healthy eating yet :o(. But, I'm also proud to say that Mr.B ate cauliflower for the first time ever! I've made dishes with cauliflower before, but it was always rebuffed, with the claim that it was Icky. He ate 4 whole pieces, which is a small victory in my book. Queenie, my now picky almost 3 yr old, snubbed this dinner as she does most meals that pass before her. She did eat a few noodles, in addition to her salad, so I can't complain.
Quick, easy and tasty. This is sure to become a regular dish in our house. I love that it can be meatless too and is budget friendly if you do go the meatless route.
Whole Wheat Penne and Cauliflower
Adapted from Rachael Ray Look & Cook
1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/4 pound pancetta, finely chopped (optional)
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 onion, finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, if using, and cook until the fat renders, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower, onion, garlic and rosemary; season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the stock and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta and cheese and toss. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Cindy's notes: I used thick cut bacon, rather than pancetta. I also used dried rosemary (1 tsp) and dried nutmeg ( a few good shakes). I omitted the wine, since I don't care for the flavor and used only chicken stock.
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