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smoky cauliflower and bacon pasta

I spend a lot of time thinking about, reading about, and writing about food and cooking. At the same time, there is a certain (quite large) proportion of food preparation that is simply about getting a meal on the table seven nights a week.

This dish started out as one of those meals, but proved to be really delicious for all that. I’ve made pasta with cauliflower before, but the twist that made this one particularly delicious, even for my mostly pasta hating Miss Lego and vegetable pedant Mr Minecraft (though I confess he didn’t actually eat the cauliflower) was the smoky flavour from including both smoked paprika and smoked garlic, plus lots of crunch from toasted slivered almonds.

toasting almonds

I got the smoked garlic from the Northside Farmers Market at the University of Canberra. It’s not something I’ve used before, but it added a rich smoky garlic taste, and as a bonus the cloves are really easy to peel. Like most pastas with a tossed through rather than simmered ‘sauce’, it didn’t take much longer to sauté the bacon and vegetables than to cook the pasta.

sauteing bacon and cauliflower

Smoky cauliflower and bacon farfalle
Served 4 of us (but probably only 3 adults)

3 rashers bacon
1/2 medium cauliflower
2 spring onions
3 cloves smoked garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/3 cup slivered almonds
300g farfalle

Parmesan to serve

Dice the bacon roughly and add to a cold pan. If you have very lean bacon you may need to add a little oil. Sauté the bacon over medium heat until it’s starting to brown. Add the cauliflower – broken into small florets, and with the inner leaves and tender stalks diced – to the pan, and cook covered, stirring occasionally until becoming tender. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the paprika, and continue to sauté gently.

Heat the almonds in a separate small pan over medium low heat until golden brown. Keep an eye on them as they burn easily.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil for the pasta. Add the farfalle to the boiling water and cook as long as the packet indicates (mine said 12 minutes).

When the pasta is almost done, add the thinly sliced spring onions to the cauliflower and stir for a few minutes.

Drain the farfalle, reserving a little pasta water, and add to the cauliflower pan. Add enough of the pasta water to help coat the pasta and get all the brown yumminess from the bottom of the pan. Serve to great acclaim!