Baked Orecchiette with Cauliflower Bacon and Taleggio
From a Chef's Kitchen
What's better than adult mac and cheese? Baked Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Bacon and Taleggio is comfort food with an elegant side!
- 12 ounces fresh orecchiette
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for the baking dish
- 5 cups Cauliflower florets
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 0.5 cup dry white wine
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 cups whole milk
- 8 ounces Taleggio cheese, rind removed and cut into small bits
- cayenne pepper
- 4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 0.33333333333333 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 0.33333333333333 cup panko
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with oil. Set aside.
- Cook orecchiette per package directions. Drain, toss with 1 tablespoon oil and set aside.
- Toss cauliflower florets with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread out onto a baking sheet. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until just beginning to soften and brown. Set aside.
- Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium-high heat. Add flour, reduce heat to low and cook 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly being careful not to brown the roux. Add the wine and the garlic, whisking constantly.
- Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Increase temperature to high, bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low and cook 3-4 minutes or until thickened.
- Remove from heat and add the cheese, whisking until cheese has melted and been incorporated. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and cayenne.
- Combine orecchiette, cauliflower, bacon and cheese sauce in a large bowl and mix well. Transfer to prepared baking dish.
- In another small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, panko, remaining butter and parsley. Sprinkle over pasta.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until crumb topping is turning golden and sauce is bubbling--approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Let stand 5-10 minutes and serve.
- Assemble up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before baking or increase baking time.