For Christmas, I received a new cookbook, The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone. The book is full of what look to be wonderful recipes and I have already tried a few of them. I usually get the food together the night before and throw it in the refrigerator, so all I have to do in the morning is put the crock in the heating unit, turn it on and go. Eating a healthy, home cooked meal is so much more satisfying than going out, or heaven forbid, eating fast food. This recipe uses chicken broth, but I think it may have been better with veggie broth instead, that's how I would prepare it next time. i upped some of the ingredients in my version to give the flavor a boost. Lots of black pepper seemed to finish it off well. Also top it with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This soup serves 8, so invite the neighbors for dinner.
Cauliflower, Pancetta and Pasta Soup
4 oz finely chopped pancetta
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium cauliflower, 1 1/2 lbs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes
1 1/2 cups ditalini or tubetti
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
In a medium skillet, cook pancetta in oil over medium heat for 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
Scrape the mixture into large slow cooker. Add cauliflower and stir well.
Add broth, salt and pepper and red chili flakes. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until cauliflower is tender.
Stir in pasta and cook 30 minutes more, or until tender. Add parsley and Parmesan just before serving.