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Rigatoni, cauliflower and bacon in pan on wooden table.
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5 from 1 vote

Rigatoni with Cauliflower and Bacon

Pan seared cauliflower, bacon, garlic and rigatoni create the ultimate hearty dinner.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 pound bacon or pancetta
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  • Chop the cauliflower into florets. Finely chop a 1/4 cup fresh parsley. Rough chop 8 garlic cloves.
  • Cook pasta to 'al dente' in salted (2 Tbsp kosher salt per gallon) water.
  • Saute the pancetta in a large pan with 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-low heat until slightly crisp. After the pancetta crisps up (about 10-15 minutes) remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same pan add the garlic and saute for 3 minutes in the drippings.
  • Add the cauliflower to the pan and coat well. Add 2 ounces of water, turn the heat to medium-high and cover. After 7 minutes remove lid, turn heat to medium and finish cooking the cauliflower to allow it to brown. Season the cauliflower with 1 tsp kosher salt and a 1/2 tsp of black pepper.
  • Reserve the pasta water before draining. Add 1 cup of the pasta water to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Next add the pasta to the pan, along with the pancetta. Thoroughly mix together while cooking.
  • Taste test and adjust salt/pepper if required. Add the parsley, mix, then remove pan from the heat. If the pasta dries out, add a touch more of the reserved pasta water to loosen the consistency back up. Drizzle a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil all over the rigatoni and serve. Enjoy!



  • Pancetta and bacon are interchangeable for this recipe.  If using bacon it might take a little longer to crisp up.
  • Bacon and pancetta are quite salty.  Only 1 tsp of kosher salt was used, adjust accordingly.
  • Reserve the pasta water.  If the rigatoni dries out before serving, add the pasta water a couple of ounces at a time to bring the consistency back to perfect. 


Calories: 758kcal | Carbohydrates: 66.4g | Protein: 35.1g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 1300mg | Potassium: 724mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 1.6g | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 4.9mg