Macaroni Cauliflower and Cheese

By • January 1, 2010 • 8 Comments



Author Notes: This comforting dish is my daughter's favorite. She requested it one day after a difficult day at school. I was busy with my own work and had another meal in mind, so said no. I distractedly listened to her recount her events while I continued working at my computer. Suddenly I had a moment of clarity and realized I wasn't present in any way. I put my work aside and gave her my full attention. We worked together on her homework, and I listened to her 10 year-old dramas at school, remembering what it was like when I was 10. Afterwards, I realized the meal I had planned could wait, and we would make her favorite meal for our dinner: Macaroni Cauliflower and Cheese. What better New Years resolution than to focus on the moment with our families and loved ones, all the while sharing and enjoying delicious comfort food?TasteFood

Serves 4-6

  • 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, divided into 1" florets
  • 1 pound penne
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cups Panko bread crumbs
  1. Steam cauliflower until tender but firm. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  2. Bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Add pasta. Cook until just tender but still firm, 5 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Add cauliflower to pot.
  3. Combine cheese in a small bowl.
  4. Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Whisk milk into roux. Cook, stirring, until thickened.
  5. Add 2/3 of the cheese to milk. Stir until smooth. Add mustard, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.
  6. Add cheese sauce to the pasta and cauliflower. Stir to combine. Pour into a buttered rectangular baking dish.
  7. Toast breadcrumbs in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until golden. Remove from heat and toss with remaining cheese. Add a pinch of salt. Spread breadcrumb mixture over pasta.
  8. Bake in pre-heated 350 F. oven until top is golden and crusty, about 40 minutes.

Tags: comfort food, family, Vegetarian

Comments (8) Questions (0)

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over 2 years ago Soup4ALL

My sister-in-law made this for our Thanksgiving gathering, but she added cabbage also. This was absolutely divine. I am making this tomorrow night for my family. Thank you for such a wonderful comfort food.

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over 2 years ago TasteFood

You're welcome! I'm so happy you liked it.

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over 2 years ago SMSF

I have made a version of this for years -- I'm sharing my favorite shortcut!
Instead of steaming the cauliflower florets separately, save a step by adding the florets right into the pasta pot during the last 2 minutes the pasta is cooking.

Henrykiss

over 4 years ago arielleclementine

we just had this for dinner and it was so fantastic! thank you for sharing the recipe!

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over 4 years ago TasteFood

Thank you - I am glad you enjoyed it!

Henrykiss

over 4 years ago arielleclementine

this sounds great! what a sweet story :)

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over 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

This recipe made the most divine side dish for a night of leftovers.

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over 4 years ago Azita

sounds like a great recipe for friends and family gatherings!