Just Caul(-iflower) It Mac and CheesePosted: January 23, 2012
My resolution to eat more veggies is in full swing. Well … partial swing, because I’m still using cheese to ease myself into it. Lots of yummy cheese. Boston finally (sadly?) had a snowy weekend, so I thought mac and cheese would be a great way to combat the blustery weather. But this easy version has cauliflower hidden in the sauce, so it’s a slightly healthier option. I bet if you served this to someone they’d never even know it. It can be your little secret.
Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
– ½ head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
– 4 cups of cavatappi pasta (or whatever pasta you like)
– 1 large egg
– 1 ½ cups of light cream
– ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
– Pinch of nutmeg
– Salt and pepper
– 2 ½ cups of sharp cheddar, shredded
– 1 cup of Parmesan, grated & divided in half
– ½ cup of breadcrumbs
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until almost falling apart, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to a bowl. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup of liquid, drain and set past aside.
While the cauliflower and pasta are cooking, whisk the egg, cream, cayenne and nutmeg together in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In the same large pot, add the cream mixture and the cheese, and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the cauliflower. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender right in the pot). Add the reserved pasta liquid and blend until creamy.
Toss the pasta with the cheese sauce, season with additional salt and pepper, and transfer to a baking dish. Top with the remaining ½ cup of Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Bake for about 10 minutes in a 450ºF oven, or until the breadcrumbs brown. Let cool for a few minutes and then eat.
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