Charred Cauliflower Carbonara

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For  more than 30 years I hardly went near cauliflower except for maybe a few times I made soup with it.  It was one of those vegetables that I grew up eating boiled, in rotation with other common vegetables of the era.  Then I went through phases where I thought the darker a vegetable, the better for you and just bypassed cauliflower’s pale hue.  Now cauliflower seems to be everywhere and we can’t get enough.  And we know it is a nutritional powerhouse. Cauliflower roasted at high temperature to bring out its flavor and char its edges becomes a revelation.  Yum!

When I came across Jessica Merchant’s  recipe for cauliflower carbonara last week, I knew I’d be making it.  It did not disappoint.   It is basically a classic carbonara with tons of cauliflower.  The cauliflower is roasted in bacon fat, an outrageous but  divine pairing!  We added balsamic and hot pepper flakes to the original recipe, doubled the cauliflower, and reduced the amount of bacon.  This was a perfect winter comfort dish, worthy of company.  Roasting  the cauliflower and frying the bacon ahead of time  would help ease some of the last minute assembly the dish requires. Mama Mia this is good!

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