This dish was super cheesy, rich, and delicious. It smelled absolutely wonderful as it baked- the rosemary really added a special layer of seasoning.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Dario Barbone and Renato Sardo, a “staff-favorite” recipe. I incorporated my special CSA cauliflower, and substituted orecchiette pasta for large shells and fontina for taleggio cheese. I also modified the cooking method. We ate it with a green salad dressed with mustard vinaigrette.
Yield: Serves 6
- 1 medium head of cauliflower (1 3/4 to 2 pounds), cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch florets
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (leaves from 1 sprig)
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 pound fontina or taleggio cheese—rind discarded, cheese cubed
- 1 pound orecchiette or large shells (such as conchiglioni)
- 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 450°, preferably on convection.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the cauliflower until tender, 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the cauliflower to a colander and let cool slightly. Drain and pat dry; keep the cooking water hot.
- Finely chop the garlic, onion and rosemary in a food processor.
- In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil.
- Add the onion, garlic and rosemary, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 8 minutes.
- Add the wine and boil until evaporated.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cream, 1 cup of the Parmigiano and the fontina/taleggio.
- Return the water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- Scrape the cauliflower and cheese sauce into the pasta and toss well.
- Spread half of the pasta into a 3-quart baking dish and top with 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs.
- Top with the remaining pasta, 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of Parmigiano.
- Bake the pasta for about 17 to 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden and crisp. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.