- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pot
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 4 ounces slab bacon, diced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets, plus the tender leaves, chopped
- 10 fresh sage leaves
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 1 pound whole-wheat orecchiette
- ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- ¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. To a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the bacon, and cook until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes.
Add the onion, cauliflower leaves and florets, and sage. Season with the salt and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat the vegetables in the oil. Cover, and cook until the onions and cauliflower leaves are wilted, about 4 minutes.
Add 2 cups pasta water, cover, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 6 minutes. Uncover, and simmer rapidly until sauce is reduced by half, about 4 minutes more. Whisk in the mustard.
Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette in the boiling water. When the pasta is al dente, remove with a spider and transfer directly to the simmering sauce. Add the parsley, and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding a little pasta water if it seems dry. Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle with the grated cheese, toss, and serve.