Tip:Cut the fettucine into 3-inch lengths before you cook it. If you tried to stir long strands of pasta into the thick mixture of cauliflower and cheese, the noodles would clump together instead of integrating with the other ingredients.
Heat the oven to 400°F. Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish.
In a food processor, combine the farmer’s cheese and cream and process until well blended. (You can also mix them in a bowl; it will just take some elbow grease.)
Melt 1 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Stir in the breadcrumbs, thyme, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Sauté, stirring, until the breadcrumbs are light golden brown and crisp, 1 to 2 min. Immediately scrape the breadcrumbs into a small bowl and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean.
Melt 1 Tbs. of the butter in the same 12-inch skillet over high heat, until the butter begins to bubble and brown. Add half of the cauliflower florets and cook until well browned, 2 to 3 min., stirring only once about halfway through. When well browned, transfer to a bowl. Lower the heat to medium high, add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and repeat with the remaining cauliflower. When it’s well browned, return the first batch of cauliflower to the pan, add the broth, and cook until the cauliflower begins to get tender but is still a little crunchy, about 3 min. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tsp. pepper.
Cut the fettuccine into about 3-inch lengths and cook in the boiling water until tender, 2 to 3 min. Drain. Put the cauliflower with its cooking liquid and the farmer’s cheese mixture in the empty pasta pot. Stir to combine. Return the fettuccine to the pot and stir it all together. Season to taste with about 1/2 tsp. salt. Spread the mixture in the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the top. Bake until the top is lightly golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, 20 to 30 min. (depending on whether it’s been chilled or not). Let cool briefly before serving.
Cut the fettucine into 3-inch lengths before you cook it.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on eight servings, Calories
18, Fat Calories
160, Saturated Fat
14, Monounsaturated Fat
28, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips