Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Fat from Beef Stock

This is a very simple but amazingly delicious recipe that I discovered mostly by accident. If you make beef stock from scratch and allow it to cool, a layer of solid fat will form on the top.

I always used to discard this fat, but not anymore! There is a lot of flavor in it, and together with the cauliflower, ground cumin and pecorino sardo the flavor is out of this world. So next time you make beef stock, keep the fat and make this dish. I promise you won’t regret it!

This is a week night dish that is easy to prepare if you already have the reserved beef fat. A bit of the stock/gravy will usually stick to the fat when you remove it; that is fine and will enhance the flavor even more. Pecorino sardo is an aged sheep’s cheese from the island of Sardinia. It has more flavor and is less salty than it’s better known brother from around Rome, pecorino romano. If you can’t find the sardo, it’s better to substitute with parmigiano reggiano than with pecorino romano.


For 2 servings

150 grams (1/3 package) orechiette or other short pasta

400 grams (.9 lbs) cauliflower florets

about 6 Tbsp beef fat from home-made beef stock/gravy

salt and freshly ground white pepper

ground cumin to taste

freshly grated aged pecorino sardo (or parmigiano reggiano)


Preheat the oven to 225C/425F.

Melt the beef fat in an oven-proof frying pan.

Add the cauliflower florets.

Season with ground cumin, freshly ground white pepper, and salt. Toss until the cauliflower is evenly coated.

Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked and starting to color.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta in salted water al dente according to package instructions.

Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the cauliflower with freshly grated pecorino sardo and a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water.

Toss to mix.

Serve on warm plates, sprinkled with some more freshly grated pecorino sardo.


13 thoughts on “Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Fat from Beef Stock

  1. Looks excellent. Growing up, we used to have a bowl of beef ‘dripping’ as it was called in one of the presses. We used it for frying. Everything was tasty, if not particularly good for one. Every week or so, the bowl would be topped up with the fat from a joint. There was a lot more fat back in the day.


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