3/4 lb dried penne pasta
4 slices bacon, chopped
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch pieces, thicker stems removed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional for serving
14 cup Italian-Style Bread Crumbs, plus additional for serving
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
Cook the bacon in a skillet over moderately high heat 4-5 minutes until the fat renders, and bacon is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, cauliflower, garlic and shallot. Cook, stirring only very occasionally, until the cauliflower is caramelized and golden, about 7-8 minutes. Season to taste with s&p (but don't salt the cauliflower too much because the bacon, cheese and the bread crumbs are all fairly salty).
In the meantime, cook the pasta until al dente, reserving a cup of pasta water. Drain and add pasta to the skillet, along with 1 tbsp evoo and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, tossing to combine. Add pasta water as needed to achieve a rich, slightly creamy consistency. Add 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs and flat leaf parsley. Toss to combine.
Serve pasta topped with additional grated cheese and bread crumbs.