FreshTartSteph Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower with Pancetta, Garlic & Parmesan

If you know someone who thinks that they don’t like cauliflower, I suggest this version. It emerges from the oven tender with crispy edges, fragrant with garlic and cheese, and studded with chewy porky richness.

What’s not to like?

Since I can’t eat gluten, I’ll often make this when the rest of the family is having pasta. While they toss the cauliflower with spaghetti, I eat it on its own, preferably right off the baking sheet.

No offense to pasta lovers, but I think I’m getting the better end of the deal.

Roasted Cauliflower with Pancetta, Garlic & Parmesan

Serves 4

1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
1-4 oz. slice pancetta (about 1/2-inch thick) cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
coarse salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Do not use a Silpat liner, as the cauliflower and pancetta won’t brown properly.)

Place cauliflower florets and pancetta in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt, and toss thoroughly to coat. Spread cauliflower evenly on the baking sheet, making sure that all the cauliflower is touching the pan and that pancetta is distributed evenly around the pan. Place pan in oven and roast cauliflower for 15 minutes. Turn florets and pancetta pieces and roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until cauliflower is nicely browned in spots and pancetta is crispy.

While cauliflower roasts, stir together garlic, Parmesan cheese, and thyme in a small bowl. When cauliflower is done, sprinkle garlic/cheese mixture over cauliflower. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant and cheese is melted and just starting to brown. Serve hot.