Culinary educator, and food activist Katherine Deumling demonstrates how to make cauliflower mac and cheese, a dish she describes as being a gateway food into the world of fresh vegetables for those not yet aficionados.
Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
--adapted from Food Matters by Mark Bittman
Recipe courtesy of Katherine Deumling, of Cook With What You Have.
Serves 6 people
Veggies can make for great comfort food and this recipe proves it and if you love Mac & Cheese (or your children do) you'll love this too. If you don't want to bother with the blender or food processor you can just mash the cauliflower in the pot in which you cooked it. You won't get as smooth of a texture but it's just as delicious. Wonderful additions to this dish are: chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, and chives;
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ½ cups veggie bouillon or chicken stock
1 medium-large cauliflower, cored and separated into pieces
1lb pasta (ziti, elbow, penne, rotini and corkscrew all work well)
¾ - 1 cup grated cheese (sharp cheddar, gruyere . . .)
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, to taste
¼ - ½ teaspoon chili flakes
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated is best
¼ cup grated Parmesan or other hard cheese
½ cup or more bread crumbs (optional)
Heat the oven to 400 F. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the cauliflower in the boiling water until very tender, about 20 minutes. Scoop the cauliflower out of the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a food processor or blender. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until still somewhat chalky inside and not quite yet al dente, about 5-6 minutes. Drain the pasta and put it in a 9 x 13 baking dish or other similar casserole dish.
Carefully process the cauliflower with 2 cups of the veggie bouillon or stock, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the cheddar, mustard, chili flakes, nutmeg and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. (You may have to work in batches.) If the sauce seems to thick add the remaining ½ cup of stock. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pour the sauce over the pasta, toss, and spread mixture evenly in dish. (You can make the dish to this point, cover, and refrigerate for up to a day) Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan and breadcrumbs, if using them. Bake until the pasta is bubbling and the crumbs turn brown, about 20 minutes. Pass under broiler if you need to.
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