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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!

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