Sunday, May 29, 2011

Penne with Cauliflower and Pancetta

Rachael Ray's cookbooks were some of the first I owned. I received a copy of 30-Minute Meals right after college when I still lived at home with my parents. While I experimented with her recipes, and I think Rachael was the first television personality who ever inspired me to try more cooking, I couldn't stand her mostly photo-less cookbooks. There's something about seeing the end result of a recipe that is important to me. I was very excited when she came out with Rachael Rays' Look and Cook, and I finally purchased a copy. This recipe jumped out at me when I first skimmed through the recipes and photos. The only change I would make to this recipe is to use less rosemary next time. I love the smell and taste of rosemary, but I do not like the texture of it. I have a weird thing when it comes to textures, but that's a whole other story! I recommend you give this pasta dish a try. You could make a vegetarian version of this dish by omitting the pancetta and replacing the chicken stock with a veggie stock. I also found a slightly different version of this recipe online that added spinach or watercress. Check out more of Rachael's recipes on Saturdays with Rachael Ray.

You will need:
*salt and pepper
*1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
(As you can see, I did not use penne. Any shape will do. I enjoyed rotini)
*1 head cauliflower
*2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*1/4 pound pancetta, finely diced
*1 head cauliflower
*1 onion, finely chopped
*3 large cloves garlic, chopped
*2-3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
*Freshly grated nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg)
*1/2 cup white wine
*1 cup chicken stock
*1 cup grated extra-sharp white cheddar cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt the water, add the pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain.

2. While your pasta is cooking, trim the cauliflower and chop it into small florets.

3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, if using, and cook until the fat renders(about 2 minutes). Stir in the onion, garlic, rosemary, and cauliflower; season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until cauliflower is just about tender.

4. Add the wine and cook uncovered until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the stock and reduce the heat. Keep covered until the pasta is finished cooking.

5. Once the pasta is drained, toss with the cauliflower pan and add the cheese. Adjust any seasonings to taste. (Add spinach or watercress topping if desired. I am going to try that next time)


  1. Saw you over on Taste and Tell! I am also loving RR's new Look and Cook cookbook! It's about time she came out with a cookbook full of photos!

  2. I'm so glad that RR jumped on the "pictures in cookbooks" bandwagon! This sounds so good, and I've heard such good things about this cookbook. Thanks so much for participating in Saturdays with Rachael Ray!