Serves a Crowd

Macaroni Cauliflower and Cheese

January  1, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
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

What You'll Need
  • 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, divided into 1" florets
  • 1 pound penne
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lydia.sugarman
  • Soup4ALL
  • SMSF
  • arielleclementine
  • MrsWheelbarrow

12 Reviews

Kathleen F. February 17, 2016
Can you use milk with a lower fat content?
lydia.sugarman February 8, 2016
What size baking dish do you use, 9x13? Has anyone tried a combination os broccoli and cauliflower? When using cabbage, do you shred it? Also, do you pre-cook it a bit/
Soup4ALL February 9, 2016
Just chopped up and parboiled before adding. I used a 9x13
Amy C. November 8, 2015
looks delicious! gonna try it with some bacon added
Soup4ALL December 11, 2011
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.
TasteFood December 11, 2011
You're welcome! I'm so happy you liked it.
SMSF October 31, 2011
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.
arielleclementine March 15, 2010
we just had this for dinner and it was so fantastic! thank you for sharing the recipe!
TasteFood March 15, 2010
Thank you - I am glad you enjoyed it!
arielleclementine January 1, 2010
this sounds great! what a sweet story :)
MrsWheelbarrow January 1, 2010
This recipe made the most divine side dish for a night of leftovers.
Azita January 1, 2010
sounds like a great recipe for friends and family gatherings!