Pasta with Cauliflower, Bacon, and Bread Crumbs

Why This Recipe Works

Pasta, nutty cauliflower, meaty bacon and crispy bread crumbs are a wonderful combination when the flavors and textures are all balanced. We brown our cauliflower in a skillet to develop its flavors and drive off some of the water to keep it from becoming mushy. By employing a risotto method and cooking our pasta in a small amount of water, we skip the draining step and make a creamy sauce for this dish as the pasta cooks. Finally, we top our pasta with bacon-flavored bread crumbs to add texture and another layer of flavor.


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3 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
½ cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large head cauliflower (3 pounds), cored and cut into 1-inch florets
1 onion, chopped fine
½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 pound campanelle
5 ½ cups chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
Nutritional Information


Per Serving (Serves 4)

  • Calories 803
  • Cholesterol 24 mg
  • Fat 22 g
  • Sodium 1733 mg
  • Saturated 5 g
  • Carbs 118 g
  • Trans 1 g
  • Dietary Fiber 10 g
  • Monounsaturated 11 g
  • Sugar 15 g
  • Polyunsaturated 4 g
  • Protein 32 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Serves 4 to 6

Farfalle, orecchiette, or gemelli can be substituted for the campanelle. If the pasta seems too dry, stir in up to 1/4 cup of hot water.

1. Cook bacon in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add panko and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until panko is well browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer panko mixture to bowl and wipe out skillet.

2. Heat 5 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add cauliflower and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is crisp-tender and browned in spots, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

3. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened, 4 to 7 minutes. Increase heat to high, add pasta, broth, and wine, and bring to simmer. Cook pasta, stirring frequently, until most of liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Remove pot from heat; stir in parsley, lemon juice, and cauliflower; and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing panko mixture and lemon wedges separately.

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