Serves a Crowd

Macaroni Cauliflower and Cheese

January  1, 2010
3 Ratings
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 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
In This Recipe
  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.

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