Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan and Pancetta

From: Giada De Laurentis

My dad and I watched Giada make this recipe on Everyday Italian and thought it looked really good, so we made it ourselves. And have made it many times since. It was, indeed, really good. Of course, I love anything creamy. And I love anything with bacon (er, pancetta?). And I love anything with parmesan cheese–heaps and heaps of it. So how could this recipe go wrong?

I use Bob’s Redmill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour and breadcrumbs made with Udi’s gf bread from Whole Foods. Also bacon instead of pancetta.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 4 ounce piece pancetta, diced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 clove garlic, whole
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the cauliflower for 2 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower to a buttered 9 by 13-inch baking dish and let cool, about 5 minutes.

In a small skillet over medium-high heat, brown the pancetta. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until combined. Continue stirring for 2 minutes to cook the flour. Slowly add the milk, stirring continuously until the milk has incorporated and there are no lumps. Add the garlic clove and red pepper flakes and stir the sauce over low heat until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add the Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and the reserved pancetta. Stir to combine. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower to cover. Top with a sprinkling of bread crumbs.

Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cauliflower is cooked, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Salsa Soup

From: Papa, original source unknown

I made this soup with my grandpa the first time. He raved about it, but I thought it was going to be strange. Sweet potatoes and salsa? Eh… but I added some cheese and some crushed tortilla chips, and it was actually very tasty and satisfying! My aunt was also skeptical of the combination at first, but she too was converted. I’d imagine it would be the perfect sort of thick, filling soup to have on a cozy autumn evening.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. butter or oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato or yam (I’ve used yams both times I’ve made it)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth to make the recipe vegetarian)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 can corn niblets, drained
  • 1 cup salsa–mild, medium, or hot is up to you
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • tortilla chips

Optional: Cheese, sour cream, and cilantro for garnish

Recipe:

1) Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and saute over medium heat until softened and translucent.

2) Chop the sweet potato or yam into 1/2 in. cubes. Add it with the broth and cumin to your pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. With immersion blender, process soup until smooth. (If using a countertop blender, cool sweet potato mixture 10 minutes, then blend in 2 batches.)

3) Stir in corn, salsa, tomato sauce, and black beans. Simmer, covered, for 5-10 minutes to blend flavors. Garnish if desired, and serve with crunched tortilla chips sprinkled on top.

My tip: Make sure you wear an apron and keep the pot covered when you can. Sweet potatoes have a habit of spitting at you! Don’t spit back to get even, either.