Baked Macaroni & Cheese w/ Cauliflower

I know I’ve been trying to post some healthier recipes, but this one was too good to not share.  It’s hearty and comforting, and is loaded with an obscene amount of cheese.  I made it when my parents were visiting last weekend, and it went over very well.  It’s perfect a perfect dish for fall and winter.


Adapted from the recipe on One Perfect Bite.

You’ll need:

Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Cheese sauce
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 tbs dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheese (or if you’re like me, just add an embarrassing amount of cheese)

The rest
1 box short cut pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)
1 cup shredded cheese
bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray a 13×9 inch pan with cooking spray.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray that with cooking spray.  Set both aside.

Place the cauliflower florets, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper into a zip top bag.  Toss it all around until the florets are coated.  Put them on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.  Bake the cauliflower for 30 minutes, and make sure to toss the cauliflower around at the 15 minute mark to ensure even browning.

Meanwhile, to make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot.  Whisk in the flour to form a paste.  Add the milk slowly, whisking as you add it.  After some whisking, the sauce should start to thicken.  Add the mustard, salt, and pepper, and whatever other spices you think might be nice.  Stir in the cheese.  

As your sauce is thickening, put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.  Cook pasta according to directions on the box.  Drain.

Add the pasta and cauliflower to the cheese sauce.  Stir it all up until everything is evenly coated in cheesy goodness.  

Spoon the pasta into the 13×9 inch pan.  Top with additional shredded cheese and some breadcrumbs, sprinkled evenly over the top.  Bake for 30 minutes, covered with foil.  Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  

Spoon some into a bowl, top with hot sauce (just my suggestion, but it’s awesome), and dig in!!

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