Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Bacon, and Breadcrumbs

Nick has always been the bigger cauliflower champion in this column, and it's time for me to set that right.

Holy moly, the things that happen when you combine cauliflower and high heat. It's like vegetable candy. Roasted in a hot oven or seared in the skillet, this ranch-doused raw vegetable of my youth turns rich, meaty, and remarkably sweet. Just for good measure, it's cooked in this recipe with bacon.

I found this pasta recipe on, from a 1996 issue of the magazine. It actually calls for "broccoflower," which is a green version sometimes called Romanesco broccoli, but I didn't know where to find that, and the regular variety was still delicious.

After the jump, I've simplified the recipe by getting rid of the parboiling stage for the cauliflower; I found that for sufficient caramelization, I had to cook the florets until it they were beginning to disintegrate, so it's not necessary to precook them. The breadcrumbs, made crunchy with olive oil, are essential for texture—I made some by grating a stale baguette against the large holes of a box grater.

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