July 7, 2011

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

I meant to post this along with my string of 4th of July specials, but it's still summer and you're still grilling, right? I haven't gotten tried of it yet.

So what have I got for you? When I made this barbecue chicken, I wanted something cheesy to go with it. And we also had to have some kind of veggie thrown in...

..cauliflower it was. I'm usually not a fan. Are you? I don't ever have it in the house but earlier that week I was hanging out in the frozen veggie aisle and saw a big bag of the stuff. I thought, why not, let's try this thing. Now that bag is taking up room in my freezer. What should I do with it?

This mac and cheese would pair wonderfully with grilled chicken, steak, or burgers. Although, be mindful of the fact that you've got something outside grilling and something inside cooking. I'm still getting a hang of watching both at the same time. Usually the hubbs helps out when we've got something on the grill and that definitely makes it easier. I still run back and forth. I don't want to miss out on the action.

Source: Rachael Ray

1 pound short cut pasta (I used whole wheat rigatoni)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large head cauliflower (I used frozen cauliflower)
1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
About 2 1/2 cups whole milk
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
3-4 sprigs fresh sage leaves, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, divided (I used yellow cheddar)
1 cup Gruyère cheese, divided (omitted)
1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
1 small bundle watercress, washed and chopped
Bring the water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and undercook the pasta by 2 minutes, about 5-6 minutes.

While the water comes to a boil, in a covered Dutch oven, heat the EVOO over medium to medium-high heat. Cut the core away from the cauliflower and set the head into the pot. Add 1 cup stock, cover and steam for 12-15 minutes, until tender. Remove and separate the cauliflower into florets. Discard the water from the pot.

Over medium heat in the same pot, melt the butter, then add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until tender. Add in the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Whisk in the whole milk and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and sage. When thickened, stir in the Dijon mustard and two-thirds of the combined cheeses.

Drain the pasta and add it to the cauliflower. Stir in the cheese sauce, transfer to baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Cool completely and cover for a make-ahead meal.

To bake, pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Bake until brown on a baking sheet to catch the bubble-over. The casserole will take 40-45 minutes to heat through.


  1. Omigod I want to come over to your house and eat this now!!! How do I make that happen? :P

  2. Sounds great! I love sneaking veggies into things.

  3. Beautiful post! It looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing:) Hope to see you on my blog:)

  4. I do love cauliflower but my family does not. What a great idea to sneak some in a mac and cheese. It must be delicious and I could get some healthy in them without them noticing, hopefully:)

  5. I haven't been real big on cauliflower in the past either, but I'm sure if it is in the form of mac and cheese that I would love it! I can't wait to try this recipe! I wanted to let you know about my cookbook giveaway that is going on right now until July 16th. Stop on by to enter! Hope you are having a great weekend :)


  6. How much frozen cauliflower did you use?

    Amy @ A Little Nosh

  7. You know, I really don't like cauliflower but I bet I would love it in this! Yum!!

  8. This sounds delicious! I'm not usually a huge fan of cauliflower (unless it's Chinese style = cooked in tons of oil!) but I want to try this! I'll have to remember this too for when I have kids and they don't want to eat their veggies!


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