Sunday, July 26, 2009

Red, Purple and Bacon

And you thought I never cooked anymore.

I don't know about you, but I'm the sort of person who has a hard time seeing something like a head of purple cauliflower at the grocery store without buying it. They also had white, green and orange. But come on, a dude has his limits.

So what do you do with purple cauliflower? Well, anything you can do with regular cauliflower, really. You just get the advantage of having prettier colors. In this case, I started with bacon. Peppered bacon.

Huh. Eight half-slices. I could have sworn I ended up using six in the end dish. Something must have happened to the other two.

When the bacon is nice and crispy, pull out out of the pan and set it aside to drain. And yes, I know you don't like crispy bacon like I do. Trust me on this one. You want it crispy. Not cardboard crispy, but it does need to have some snap to it. Drain off most of the bacon fat, but not all of it.

I ended up using about a cup of purple cauliflower, cut into pieces, and half a cup of red bell pepper, also cut into pieces. Crank the heat, and saute them in the bacon fat. We're not looking to actually cook them all the way through, that will happen later. Right now we just want some color on them. I did add a splah or two of Worcestershire sauce though. I like it.

Then we need some pasta. I went with a ziti rigati, maybe a cup or so. Add it to the pan, along with a cup of chicken broth. Keep another half cup to a cup standing by, just in case. Also, I used a half tablespoon each of dried basil and dried chives.

This is a kind of absorption pasta dish. No wasted cooking water, and the pasta soaks up all of that flavorful liquid. You need to keep the pasta moving, but not constantly. Just enough that it all has a chance to soak up liquid, and none of it cooks unevenly. If you start to run out of liquid and the pasta isn't cooked yet, add another quarter cup or so and keep going.

The goal here is for the pasta to finish cooking at the same time as the veggies. It'll take somewhere around 10 minutes. give or take. You'll notice that I didn't add salt or pepper to this dish. Trust me, the bacon has plenty of both. In my case, the dish still ended up being just a tad saltier than I would have liked. Not enough to detract from the overall tastiness.

Just before the liquid finishes evaporating, you'll want to add the bacon back into the pan, along with the juice of half a lemon. You'll notice in the final photo that I ended up cutting it into inch-long pieces. I probably should have started out that way, but that's okay. The bacon is going to soak up just a little of the remaining juices, and catch some of the steam as well. This will make it lose some crisp. If you kept it soggy before, it will remain soggy.

Oh man. This stuff was awesome. I could have eaten it all night, but my heart would have exploded from the bacony goodness. Don't make it as an entree. Keep it as a side. Let me know if you think of the perfect thing to serve it with.


  1. Wow, as a bacon-lover (who isn't, really?) this looks fantastic. I might have to give it a shot, especially if I come across some purple cauliflower. I'm a follower from the Ubuntu cookies (which have been the template for my Pi Day cookies for three years running), so I have good faith :D

  2. Wouldn't green cauliflower basically be the same thing as broccoli?


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