Penne & Cauliflower with Mustard Breadcrumbs

Holiday Madness!

It’s only the first week of November and there is already a feeling of urgency in the air. The stores are full of people, lines are long, too few check out stands open. Retail is ridiculous in this day and age. You now have to shop (like you are buying wholesale or as my friend Jessica would say – ho-sale) months before the actual event. The Halloween candy is whisked off the shelves on October 30th (I have witnessed this – candy corn being shipped out!). If you want to buy a bathing suit in July, you can forget about it – Summer is over and Back-to-school is on offer. It’s all so wrong! By the time the actually holiday comes, I am so over it.

I just found out that Norstrom only puts up Holiday (Christmas) the day AFTER Thanksgiving. I applaud this! This is how it used to be when I was growing up. Why do retailers have to jam the holidays down our throats months before? Anyway, what is my point and where is the recipe? I don’t know, I’m just ranting!

Okay, I will stop! Here is a pasta recipe to get your mind off the holiday madness….  Hey, it’s my blog and I can rant if I want to, rant if I want to – you would rant too if it happened to you!  (Leslie Gore went to my college!)

Penne & Cauliflower with Mustard Breadcrumbs

Serves 4

8 oz penne rigate (2½ cups)
5 cups small cauliflower florets
2 Tbs butter
1½ Tbs Dijon mustard
1½ cups fresh whole wheat breadcrumbs made from crustless country-style bread
¾ cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional (for serving)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp finely grated lemon peel

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cauliflower. Cook until cauliflower is tender and pasta is tender but firm to bite, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta and cauliflower, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta and cauliflower to pot.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in Dijon mustard. Add breadcrumbs. Cook until breadcrumbs are golden and crisp, stirring to break up clumps, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer breadcrumbs to medium bowl.

Add 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, cream, lemon peel, and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to pasta mixture in pot. Toss over medium heat until sauce simmers and coats pasta, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer pasta to wide shallow bowl. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese alongside.

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