Cauliflower cheese and bacon pasta

Adam Liaw
Cauliflower cheese meets carbonara in this creamy pasta.
Cauliflower cheese meets carbonara in this creamy pasta. Photo: William Meppem

This simple, creamy pasta hints at two old-school classics: cauliflower cheese and carbonara.


200g thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons

25g butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 tbsp flour

1 cup milk

1 small head cauliflower, roughly chopped (pieces no larger than 2cm cubes)

300ml pouring cream

1 cup grated cheese (tasty, gruyere or other melting cheese)

½ tsp salt

500g dried rigatoni

¼ cup grated parmesan, to serve


1. Heat a very large frying pan over medium heat and fry the bacon in a little of the butter for about 4 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the pan. Add the remaining butter to the pan and fry the onion and garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes, then add the flour and mix well. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly, until a thick sauce forms. Add the cauliflower pieces, cream and grated cheese, then stir until the cheese melts and the cauliflower has softened.

2. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the salt and cook the pasta according to the packet directions. Drain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water. Mix the pasta, reserved pasta water and bacon into the cauliflower cheese mixture over medium heat. Stir well to combine and serve with parmesan and black pepper.

Also try: Adam Liaw's golden syrup chicken wings