A cold and rainy day in Vancouver is deserving of some carb and cheesy goodness. To add some nutritional value to it, I added some cauliflower I wanted to use up. This recipe is in part inspired by Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals – I love that show and even wake up at 8 am on Sunday morning to watch a whole hour of it. I mean I don’t set my alarm or anything, but I will get out of bed easily. He dumps some cauliflower into his pasta water and just mashes it into the pasta before putting in the oven. He inspires me to use less dishes and be more efficient in the kitchen. I should have turned on the kettle as soon as I entered the kitchen for the pasta, but forgot. If you haven’t, watch his show. He isn’t fussy, and let’s admit it, pretty hot in the kitchen!
This is one of the easiest recipes I know of and one of the few that I use the microwave for. I mix and match the cheese in this recipe with what I have on hand. Tonight it was cheddar, fontina, parmesan, and some dollops of soft goat cheese.
Cheesy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese With Panko
Adapted from The New Canadian Basics Cookbook
2 cups elbow macaroni
2 cups cauliflower florets, broken into small pieces
1/4 cup buttery
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (any will work)
1 tsp Dijon mustard or a pinch of dried
Salt and pepper to taste
Squirt of hot sauce
3 cups shredded cheese, plus a bit for the top (any combination)
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375. Cook pasta and add cauliflower florets to water in the last few minutes of cooking. Drain.
In 4 cup glass measuring cup, melt butter about 20 seconds or so. Stir in flour, mustard, milk, salt and pepper and cook on high for 2 min. Stir with whisk and microwave in high for 2 more mins. Stir in cheese until melted, microwave for another minute or two. Add hot sauce and more salt and pepper if needed.
Combine sauce with macaroni and cauliflower and add to a casserole dish. I like to use one that has a bigger surface area, so there is more of the crunchy cheesy topping. Sprinkle with more cheese and top with Panko bread crumbs. Bake in over for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.
Enjoy with a cold glass of Rose.