Sweet caramelized cauliflower, applewood smoked bacon, and loads of garlic come together with creamy fontina and nutty, earthy gruyère in a dish totally worth the splurge.
Fusilli with Bacon, Gruyere, and Roasted Cauliflower
- 1 and 1/2 heads cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch florets
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced into thin lengthwise pieces
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 ounces (3-4 slices) bacon, chopped into pieces or thin strips (Nueske’s applewood smoked is the best if you can find it)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 12 ounces fusilli pasta
- 8 ounces (1/2 lb) fontina cheese, grated
- 8 ounces (1/2 lb) aged gruyere cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Place cauliflower florets and sliced yellow onion on a baking sheet, drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, and season well with and freshly ground pepper. Stir to coat and place in preheated oven. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, for 35 minutes or until caramelized and tender. Remove from oven.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente (stopping a minute or two before package directions). Reserve 1 cup of hot pasta water before draining.
While cauliflower is roasting, saute bacon pieces in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat for 6 or 7 minutes or until crisp. Add minced garlic to bacon and saute 1 more minute.
Turn heat to medium-low and whisk flour into the bacon garlic mixture. Stir for two minutes. Gradually whisk in cream and milk, stirring occasionally until sauce is thick, about 5 minutes.
Whisk in shredded fontina and gruyere, stirring until melted. Slowly whisk in reserved pasta water until sauce is perfectly creamy (I used 1/2 cup, but you may need more). Season to taste with salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Stir in roasted cauliflower, onions and the hot drained pasta.
Serve in warm bowls with a good sprinkle of parsley and any crispy onion pieces left on the baking sheet.