Top | Katherine Deumling

Cauliflower Mac 'n' Cheese

(recipe, Katherine Deumling)

Introduction

This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman’s Creamy Cauliflower Mac in The Food Matters Cookbook. Veggies can make for great comfort food, and this recipe proves it. If you love Mac 'n' 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. Chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, or chives are excellent additions to this dish.

Ingredients

  1. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  2. 2½ cups Homemade Veggie Bouillon
  3. 1 medium-large cauliflower, cored and separated into pieces
  4. 1 lb. dried pasta (see Note)
  5. ½ to ¾ cup grated cheese (sharp Cheddar or Gruyère work well)
  6. 3 tsp. Dijon mustard, to taste
  7. ¼ to ½ tsp. chile flakes
  8. ¼ tsp. nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
  9. Black pepper
  10. ¼ cup grated Parmesan or other hard cheese
  11. ½ cup or more breadcrumbs (optional)

Steps

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a 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 to 6 minutes. Drain the pasta and put it in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or other similar casserole dish.
  3. Carefully process the cauliflower with 2 cups of the veggie bouillon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the Cheddar, mustard, chile flakes, nutmeg, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. (You may have to work in batches.) If the sauce seems too thin, add the remaining ½ cup of stock. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pour the sauce over the pasta, toss, and spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. (You can make the dish up to this point, cover, and refrigerate for up to a day.)
  4. 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.

Note

Use ziti, elbow, or penne pasta. Whole-wheat pasta works if it’s a good brand such as Barilla or Bionaturae.