Thursday, August 4, 2011

Feeding Friendship: Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

I'm so excited about this!  This post launches the first of a biweekly feature called Feeding Friendship that is a collaboration between myself, and two of my closest friends - Veronica who blogs at Everybody Loves VD and Sarah of Not in Kansas Any More.  Every two weeks, one of us will select a secret ingredient and post it on our tumblr account.  We will each make a recipe and post about it on our personal blogs and and post a link to tumblr.  Want to join in on the fun?  Just follow us at Feeding Friendship.  We'd love to have you!

This week, Veronica picked cauliflower as the secret ingredient, which gave me the opportunity to share one of the best dishes I've made recently.  Roasted cauliflower is one of my favorite things to serve as a side dish or a component in pasta so subbing it in for half of the pasta is a delicious change of pace - and a great way to sneak in bonus vegetables.  The first time I made this was shortly before I left for Seattle.  I made an extra pan and froze it for Geoff to eat while I was gone.  You can bake it right from frozen at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Yields: 6 servings

1 head cauliflower
8 oz whole wheat penne
8 oz 2% Velveeta
6 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
2 1/2 cups skim milk
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan, finely grated
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp nutmeg, optional
1/2 tsp dried mustard, optional

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut the cauliflower into pieces slightly larger than the penne.

2. Toss the cauliflower in 1 tbsp oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.  Roast 30 minutes, tossing halfway, until the the edges are dark brown.

3. While the cauliflower roasts, boil the pasta for about two minutes less than called for on the box.

4. Start the cheese sauce by melting the butter and adding the flour to make a roux.  At first it will clump up, but keep stirring until it smooths out and starts to smell a bit like toast.

5. Add the milk, stirring briskly.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  The sauce will thicken, but not to the point of a gravy.  Add pepper and, if desired, nutmeg and mustard.

6. Add the cheeses in three installments, allowing to melt between additions.  Once the cheeses have all been incorporated, taste for salt (the Velveeta is pretty salty).

7. Stir the pasta and roasted cauliflower into the sauce and pour into a 9x13 glass pan.  Spread the breadcrumbs evenly across the casserole and spray very lightly with olive oil to help crisp the topping.  Sprinkle on the parmesan.

8. Turn down the oven to 350 and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Don't forget to check out to see what Veronica and Sarah made!

1 comment:

  1. I thought that roasting the cauliflower might be the best idea, though my recipe called for boiling. You dish look pretty yummy, and your photo beats the pants off mine ;)


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