CAULIFLOWER BACON MAC AND CHEESE

The inspiration for this dish came from Jamie's meals in minutes.  It really was a yummy dish.  I love the addition of cauliflower to this dish, and the breadcrumb mixture?  Divine!  Now, I did do my best to make this in 30 minutes.  It did not happen...this took me 45 minutes.  I am just not as fast as Jamie is in the kitchen.  However, I could have been a tiny bit more organized with setting up, also, when you consider I was taking pictures of the process....well that is pretty good don't you think?
By the way, this will easily feed four over generous portions.
1 small to medium head of cauliflower
1 pkg. Tinkyada Brown Rice Penne Pasta
1 cup of reserved pasta water
2 cups grated Aged Cheddar Cheese
2/3 cup 2% cottage cheese (if you can't tolerate cottage cheese, use extra Parmesan Cheese)
6 slices of bacon, chopped, and cooked till crisp
2/3 cup gluten free bread crumbs
1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese
handful of Fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
1 large shallot, minced
4 minced garlic cloves
5 minced Fresh Sage Leaves
salt and pepper
Begin by quartering, and coring the cauliflower.  The pasta and the cauliflower should cook at the same time. In a large saucepan, add the cauliflower and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, season well with salt, lid on then turn down to simmer about 15 minutes. In a big pasta pot add the pasta to boiling salted water, cook the pasta as per directions, but half way through, remove 1 cup of water and set aside for the sauce.
Meanwhile, heat up a frying pan and cook the bacon.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a food processor.  Turn the heat down to low medium, and saute the shallots, garlic, and sage - about 4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
Add the breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan cheese to the bacon and pulse until fine.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Drain the cauliflower, and add to the food processor and pulse until fine - not mush but fine.  Then add the cauliflower and the pasta water to the shallots, stirring to combine.
Drain the pasta and transfer to a 9X11 baking dish.  Add the cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, and cauliflower mixture, tossing to combine.  Check for seasonings.
Sprinkle on the breadcrumb/bacon mixture, and drizzle olive oil over the top.
Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven to broil.  I have a strange oven - mine took about 8 minutes to get golden, so just keep an eye on the pasta until the top is nice and golden.  Let sit 5 minutes and serve.  There are days when you just have to have good, wholesome comfort food!

Ina Gawne
author

6 comments on “CAULIFLOWER BACON MAC AND CHEESE”

  1. Oh that is enough to make me wish I was still eating grains... but, I bet I could make the cheesy cauliflower part, and then put in other pre-cooked veggies... what do you think? Would that be nice? XO

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February 22, 2012
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