it’s become a habit, good or bad (yet to be determined) that sunday night after the chores and prep for the week are complete, we make a comfort meal. last night it was meatballs with left over gravy and crusty toast and the week before that it was this cauliflower mac and cheese.
i added cauliflower in an effort to say that i didn’t just eat cheese and carbs all weekend. i ate vegetables. that were in my macaroni. with cheese. so i’m healthy right? let’s just say we are. go with it.
my favorite way to eat veggies is roasted. a little salt, pepper and olive oil pop them in the oven at a high heat for 20 minutes and they caramelize into this nutty earthy goodness. if you haven’t had roasted brussel sprouts like this, you are missing out. joe and i can eat those like candy. and it’s delightful. but cauliflower is the veggie of choice for this dish and roasted it becomes a necessary part of this dish.
it takes just under an hour to whip this up together and it fed joe and i sunday night, tuesday night and wednesday night. and we didn’t even get sick of it and if we did we didn’t say so because neither one of us felt like picking up take out or cooking again. the winter feelings are already starting to set in!
regardless this will keep you warm and cozy on a cold fall night.
1 head of cauliflower
salt or truffle salt ( i used)
1 pound of penne pasta
4 tablespoons of butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups of reduced fat milk
8 ounces of grated fontina
8 ounces of grated sharp white cheddar
4 ounces of marscarpone cheese
5 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg (fresh grated if you can find it! )
1 cup of panko crumbs
- preheat your oven to 400f. cut up cauliflower into florets and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. I used truffle salt that i had on hand and it added just a little something extra to the cauliflower. roast at 400 for about 20 minutes or until the edges of the cauliflower start to char. once you are finished cooking cauliflower reduce oven temp to 350.
- in a separate pot bring water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. set aside.
- while the water comes to a boil, measure out your milk and keep nearby. melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. whisk in flour and stir briskly for about 2 minutes until it smells a bit nutty. don’t let it burn (careful it could happen fast). slowly pour in milk while continuing to whisk butter and flour. let bubble a bit until it thickens up. add in fontina stir until melted, follow with white cheddar and marscarpone. add in garlic, paprika and nutmeg.
- mix the sauce with the noodles and stir until incorporated. stir in the cauliflower to the noodles and sauce. pour in to a 9×13 baking dish. top with panko crumbs and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. enjoy!