Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kitchen Experiments: Creamy Cauliflower Baked Macaroni

Coming in at a close second after PB as my favorite foods of all time, is the decadent...ooey gooey perfection that is Mac N Cheese. These days it isn't just a .99 cent box of shells & cheese but variations that stretch all lengths of the imagination. This recipe was particularly appealing since it is healthy and sneaks in some veggie servings. I found it while browsing pinterest and was originally posted on Healthy Food for Living (their pictures sold me!)


  •     2 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken (or vegetable) stock
  •     2 dried bay leaves
  •     1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into large florets
  •     8 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni (I used Rotini instead)
  •     3/4 cup freshly grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  •     2 Tbsp blue cheese, crumbled
  •     2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  •     2 tsp coarse ground (or Dijon) mustard
  •     hot sauce, to taste, optional (I used 2 tsp)
  •     Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  •     1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  •     1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  •     1 Tbsp salted butter or margarine, melted

Step 1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish.

 Step 2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add in the cauliflower florets and boil for 25 minutes, or until very soft.

Step 3. Meanwhile, bring the stock and bay leaves to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Let simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off heat.

Step 4. When the cauliflower is done, remove from the boiling water using a strainer or slotted spoon, and transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add macaroni to boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
Every time I cook, Bowie cheers me on....or maybe he is just waiting for spills :)
Step 5. Meanwhile, add the stock (minus the bay leaves), cheddar cheese, blue cheese, olive oil, mustard, and hot sauce to the cauliflower in the food processor. Process until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and more hot sauce if desired. 

Step 6. Place drained macaroni back into the pot and add in the cauliflower cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Step 7. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter or margarine, grated Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs. Mix with a fork or your fingertips until combined. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni.

Step 8. Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumb topping is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


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