Parmigiana Crusted Rigatoni with Cauliflower

This must be the week of Food & Wine recipes! Just like my previous post: This is one of my faaavorite meals! I am a HUGE fan of anything soft and crunchy, and cheesy. No lie, this will make your mouth water just thinking about it!!

This is a little glimpse of what fantastic items you will need to put this dish together. Did I mention that I love cheese?? If you want a great meal, ALWAYS go for the real stuff, don’t skimp out a few dollars on some Kraft brand or preservative enhanced product, I bought a wedge of real aged Parmigiana, and it made all the difference in the world! I also bought the prosciutto from the Deli and not the pre-packaged kind. Some good quality EVOO wouldn’t hurt either 😉

Start off preheating your oven on Hi Broil. Also start up a large pot of boiling water.

One of my favorite smells in the kitchen is garlic, onion, and olive oil! Of course salt & pepper are a must to add. You know the drill, cook until the onion is translucent and golden yellow.

Add the prosciutto and cook for a few minutes, it will cook in the oven also, but you want to absorb all of the flavors.

While that is cooking, go ahead and chop up your cauliflower into pieces. You could also break them apart by the stems to make “trees”. A little boy I used to nanny would call them “trees” and I think it is so cute, so I will use his idea. Oh yes, I am stooping down to a 3 year old’s level when describing food, don’t judge me 🙂

Put your burner on Low, and add the cream with a little more salt and pepper to taste. Stir and let simmer to absorb flavors.

If you have already thrown your box of Rigatoni in the boiling pot, you want to add your cauliflower when there are 6 minutes left to cook. Make sure and stir your noodles and cauliflower every once in a while to prevent them from sticking.

After the noodles are Al Dente and cauliflower is soft and easily broken, conserve 2 tbsp of the pasta water, then drain.

Take the big pot of water, and off-heat add the pasta and cauliflower back to the pot, then add the cream sauce. While that sits, make your star of the recipe! The panko-parmigiana crust!

Stir in the remaining EVOO with the freshly grated parm & panko crumbs with some ground pepper. The EVOO will help make that golden-brown crust on top.


Now the assembly! Take a deep baking dish, I used a 9×13 pan. Place the noodles & cauliflower mixture in the pan, then evenly lay the parm-panko mixture on top.

Now, depending on how hot your oven gets, you want to keep a close eye on your pan. I turn my light on, or open my oven slightly to watch the pan bake. What I like to do is turn my pan each side to get all of the sides evenly browned as I can. Since all of the ingredients are already cooked, the broil just browns the top to make a crusty finish. Sooo delish. Mine only took 5 minutes total, but it will depend on your oven. In Corpus Christi, it only took about 2 minutes because our oven was ancient and SUPER hot!!

Now, take a step back, and enjoy the view. You have just made a masterpiece, and it was so simple! Don’t feel stuck up about it, brag about! This meal is pretty big, I’d say feeds 4-6, since RJ and I eat like horses, this will hold us over for about 2 dinners 🙂 And let me tell you, it is amazing left-over!

What you will need:

1 tbsp EVOO

1/2 yellow onion

1 large clove of garlic

6 thin slices of Prosciutto

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

1 box Rigatoni noodles

1 head of cauliflower

For the excellent parm-panko crust:

1 cup of panko crumbs

1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiana (I used 1 cup, because I love cheese.. have I said that before??)

2 1/2 tbsp. EVOO

My model assistant is making his debut appearance in the picture on the left. His name is RJ, and no he does not accept autographs.

And as always, ENJOY! If you do actually end up making this, let me know how it tastes for you! Thank you Food & Wine for a fantastic meal, yet again, you are amazing.


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