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a pink plate with rigatoni carbonara with roasted cauliflower florets and bacon piece
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5 from 1 vote

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara with Garlic Breadcrumbs

Piping hot rigatoni, crispy bacon, and roasted cauliflower tossed with rich and velvety egg yolks and salty parmesan cheese. This riff on a classic carbonara is topped with crispy, garlicky panko breadcrumbs for an unexpected twist!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: pasta
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 711kcal


  • 1 head cauliflower cut into small florets
  • 8 oz bacon diced
  • 1 whole egg
  • 5 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 1 c freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • salt and pepper

Garlic Bread Crumbs

  • 1 ½ c panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 4 tbsp butter


  • Preheat the oven to 400. Place the bacon and cauliflower onto a large baking tray. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the cauliflower and bacon together. Roast 30 to 40 minutes, stirring half way through, until the cauliflower is golden brown and the bacon is crispy and caramelized.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, occasionally stirring, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Place the pot back on the stove with the heat off; you will use it again.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk, parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. Pour the hot cooked pasta and ¼c pasta water directly into the bowl and start tossing right away.
    Add the pasta and yolk mixture back into the pot that the past was cooked in, do not turn on the stove. Continue tossing the pasta and egg yolk mixture allowing the residual heat from the pot to gently cook the eggs and thicken the sauce. Add more pasta water as needed to thin out the sauce. Last, fold in the bacon and cauliflower.
    Divide the carbonara between bowls, top with garlic bread crumbs, black pepper and extra grated parmesan, serve immediately!

Garlic Bread Crumbs

  • Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. When the butter is melted add in the garlic, breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt. Cook the breadcrumb mixture, stirring often, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the breadcrumb mixture to a paper towel-lined plate.


Carbonara Tips + Tricks
  • Use room temperature eggs. Take your eggs out of the fridge an hour before you plant to make carbonara. Cold eggs can lead to lumps in your sauce.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and parmesan cheese together thoroughly. This will give your sauce a more silky, uniform texture.
  • Keep things moving. Stirring helps reduce contact with the hot pan and aerates the eggs. Add the hot rigatoni to the parmesan-egg mixture with one hand while continuously stirring with the other. This takes a little finesse, but you can do it!
  • No direct heat! The gentle, residual heat from the noodles is what cooks the eggs to create that velvety, custardy sauce, not the heat from the stovetop.
Storing and Reheating Instructions:
Carbonara will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to four days. To reheat, cover the carbonara with a damp paper towel then warm in microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so to avoid overcooking the egg. 


Calories: 711kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 241mg | Sodium: 736mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 626IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 290mg | Iron: 3mg