Quick and easy pasta dishes, full of vegetables are great any time of the year but are best when you can use seasonal produce- as this recipe does. That’s why we are sharing this quick and easy gluten-free pasta with cauliflower and pancetta recipe.
Today’s gluten-free cauliflower and pancetta pasta recipe uses fresh cauliflower. However, you could use frozen cauliflower to be able to make this dish all year round, affordably. Remember that frozen vegetables are picked at the peak of their freshness and offer an economical way to enjoy out-of-season vegetables.
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Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Pasta with Cauliflower and Pancetta
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil or any neutral cooking oil of your choice
- 6 oz pancetta, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 smallish cauliflower chopped into small florets
- 1/2 tsp each of granulated garlic, granulated onion, and black pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley (optional)
- 1 cup pasta water
- 1 package of gluten-free pasta-I used Rummo Pasta Gluten-Free Mezzi Rigatoni No. 51
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil
- Dice Pancetta
Tip: You can remove some of the excess fat from the pancetta, but you do need at least 50% of the fat for rendering in the recipe.
Tip: Pancetta can be frozen. So you can buy a large piece, cut it into smaller pieces, wrap it up well, and keep it in the freezer for up to 6 months. This makes making pasta like this very easy, as you always have pancetta on hand.
- Wash and cut your cauliflower into small florets
Tip: You can use a vegetable peeler to remove any smaller blemishes from a cauliflower, without being needlessly wasteful.
Tip: Though we recommend 1 small cauliflower, you can use as much cauliflower as you like, as it will make the dish all the healthier, and heartier. Plus, it will make more servings.
- In a large frying pan (that has a lid), sauté pancetta until the pancetta is crispy and the fat has been rendered out.
- Remove the pancetta from the pan using a slotted spoon and set it aside.
- Add in 1 tbsp of oil and let heat.
- To the pan, add onions and sauté.
- Once the onions until softened, but have not browned. Add in the garlic.
- Cook the garlic until it becomes fragrant.
- Add chopped cauliflower and the chicken stock to the pan, stir well and place the lid on top.
- Allow the cauliflower to steam, stirring occasionally.
- The cauliflower should take about 5-10 minutes to cook.
- Cook your pasta to the package specifications and to your personal preference.
- Add granulated garlic, granulated onion, black pepper and optional red pepper flakes to the frying pan.
- Allow to continue to cook.
- Add the pancetta back into the pan, and stir well.
- Taste the sauce and add flavouring, as needed
Tip: I did not list salt in this recipe because the pasta water, cheese, and stock are all salty. However, depending on how much cauliflower you use, you may need to add some finishing salt for flavour.
- Using a heatproof container remove 2 cups of pasta water.
- Add enough pasta water- probably 1 cup- to loosen the mixture and make it saucier.
- Turn off the burner and add the cheese, if you are using it.
Tip: If you add the cheese while the burner is on the cheese can separate.
- Stir well.
- Drain your pasta
- Add the pasta to the mixture.
- Stir well, again.
- Add in the optional chopped parsley- this adds a lovely freshness.
- You can choose to serve the dish with additional cheese, and hot pepper, if you like.
Tip: You can add the extra pasta water to any leftovers. This allows the pasta to stay moist.
This dish is just as delicious the next day, so leftovers make a great lunch, if reheated.