Cauliflower pasta cacio e pepe | Weekday recipes on a budget

How many pots and pans do you usually use to cook pasta? Well, we’ll do it in one, cheese sauce and all.

To achieve this, I cook the pasta and cauliflower in a pot with milk and water (water to keep it from bubbling). The trick is to use just enough to cook the pasta and leave enough starchy cooking liquid from the boil to make a sauce. An Italian chef and friend taught me this technique to make cacio e pepe using only enough water to cook the pasta so the remaining liquid is super starchy and the sauce doesn’t split. Works every time.

When cutting the cauliflower, pay attention to the size versus the shape of the pasta. If your pasta requires a longer cooking time, make sure the cauliflower pieces are a bit larger so they don’t fall apart.

The cacio e pepe part of this recipe comes from a large amount of black pepper. If you think you’re done grinding, you’re not, keep going! The pepper adds a nice warm kick that helps balance the sweet cabbage and rich cheese sauce.

How to cook pasta with cacio e pepe cauliflower

For 4 to 6 people

Preheat the oven to 200°C convection heat.

To prepare:

By splitting the stem and breaking off golf ball sized florets.

Place the bouquets in a large pot with:

  • 500g (one package) short pasta of your choice
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups the water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Place the saucepan over high heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until pasta is half cooked and liquid thickens slightly. If it seems too liquid and your pasta is not cooked, stir in a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with a little water.

Turn off the heat and mix:

  • 1 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used a mix)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

Pour the contents of the pan into a large baking sheet and cover with:

  • ½ cup grated cheese or breadcrumbs
  • Black pepper, to garnish

Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top.

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