Pasta With Bacon and Caramelized Cauliflower


This quick pasta is packed with rich flavor.

Pasta with Bacon and Caramelized Cauliflower
Photo: Greg DuPree
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

Thick-cut bacon is the flavorful backbone of this pasta that comes together in less than 30 minutes. The chopped bacon is cooked in a skillet until nice and crispy. Then cauliflower florets cook in the bacon drippings until they're deeply browned and flavorful. Just like magic, a few ingredients create a satisfying supper. Pro tip: always ladle out some of the cooking water before draining the pasta. The starches released from the pasta into the water help to create a light and smooth sauce when paired with butter and grated cheese. And remember to always salt the water before cooking the pasta.


  • 6 ounces thick-cut bacon (about 5 slices), chopped

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 4 cups cauliflower florets (13 oz.), cut into small pieces

  • .50 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for water

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (from 3 cloves)

  • 12 ounces casarecce or penne pasta

  • 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) cold unsalted butter

  • 2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about ½ cup), divided

  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet.

  2. Add oil to same skillet; heat over medium-high. Add cauliflower and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic to skillet during final 2 minutes of cook time.

  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions until just al dente. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup cooking water.

  4. Add pasta to cauliflower mixture in skillet. Reserve ¼ cup bacon; add remaining bacon to skillet. Cook over medium, stirring often, for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, reserved cooking water, and ¼ cup each cheese and parsley. Serve topped with reserved bacon and remaining ¼ cup cheese and 2 tablespoons parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

666 Calories
29g Fat
72g Carbs
30g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 666
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 13g 65%
Cholesterol 74mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 72g 26%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 30g

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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