Sunday, June 11, 2017

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese #SundaySupper

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a delicious twist on a family favorite, adding extra nutrients to our comfort food. No one can resist the cheesy goodness!

Food Lust People Love: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a delicious twist on a family favorite, adding extra nutrients to our comfort food. No one can resist this cheesy goodness!

We talk about eating the rainbow for optimum health, which seems to imply that only the most colorful vegetables are high in nutrients. But despite its bland appearance, cauliflower is actually one of the most nutritious vegetables, with one serving supplying more than 70 percent of our daily recommended intake of vitamin C, along other vitamins and nutrients. It makes the top 30 list compiled by the Center of Disease Control.

For this cauliflower mac and cheese, I like to choose macaroni that is a bit bigger than your average elbow variety. Then I chop the cauliflower florets into pieces about the same size as the macaroni will be when it is cooked. This gives the dish a more homogeneous look and texture, so if you are feeding picky eaters who would normally try to separate the veggies from the pasta, they likely won't even notice the cauliflower. The sharp cheddar sauce makes it all taste like deliciously normal mac and cheese.

Love cauliflower? You might enjoy my Cauliflower Cheese Pie with Potato Crust, Cauliflower Cheese Waffles and Cauliflower Leek Roquefort Tart. All three are seriously good. 


Variations on Cauliflower Mac and Cheese


Sometimes I make this cauliflower mac and cheese with bacon, as outlined below; sometimes I make it without. Either way, it’s delicious and filling enough to be a main course. It’s also very tasty with some chopped frozen spinach thawed then added to the cheese sauce. Serve it alongside a fresh green salad, or with some sun-ripe summer tomatoes simply seasoned with a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Ingredients
8 oz or 227g pasta
1 small head cauliflower (about 11 1/2 oz or 325g florets), divided into florets and chopped
6 1/3 oz or 180g smoked streaky bacon, chopped – about 5 thick-cut slices (or 3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil)
4 tablespoons flour
1 small onion, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups or 480ml cold milk
12 oz or 340g extra sharp cheddar or cheese of your choice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne - optional
1/2 cup or 35g fresh bread crumbs

Method
Boil the pasta according to the package instructions, setting the timer for half of the recommended al dente cooking time. Add in the chopped cauliflower when your timer goes off. Cook pasta till al dente.


Drain and set aside, still in the colander, while you make the cheese sauce.

Fry the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and all but three tablespoons bacon fat. If you don’t have enough fat, make up the difference with butter, canola or olive oil.

If you don’t want to add bacon, start with three tablespoons of butter, canola or olive oil.

Sprinkle in the flour and mix well to make a roux.  Cook the roux for a few minutes to get rid of the floury taste.

Add the minced onion and garlic into the roux. Cook over a low fire until they are softened.

All at once, whisk in the milk, whisking quickly so that the flour and milk don’t form lumps.

Cook until the sauce thickens and reduces in volume, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350° or 180°C and butter or grease a baking pan or casserole dish.

Add in three quarters of the grated cheese and stir until melted. Add in the dried mustard and stir.  Season with salt, black pepper and a little cayenne, if desired.


Pour the cauliflower and pasta back into the pot with the bacon, saving a little of the bacon to sprinkle on top.


Pour on the sauce and fold to combine. In case you are wondering why it isn't orange, my favorite extra sharp cheddar is an Australian brand. They don't tend to put the coloring in it that many American cheesemakers do.


Spoon the mixture into your prepared baking pan or read note below.

Note: If the pan you cooked everything in is ovenproof, you could skip transferring the mixture to a baking dish, and move on to the next step - the topping- but for me, the best cauliflower mac and cheese is all about the crunchy, chewy top covered with extra cheese and bread crumbs, baked till golden. So I like to spread mine out in a wide dish to maximize the square footage of that top.

Combine the reserved cheese and bacon with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the cauliflower mac and cheese.

Food Lust People Love: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a delicious twist on a family favorite, adding extra nutrients to our comfort food. No one can resist this cheesy goodness!

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy on top.

Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a delicious twist on a family favorite, adding extra nutrients to our comfort food. No one can resist this cheesy goodness!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must tell you that while my husband and I will fight over the crispiest bits, our younger daughter would have you skip the last step altogether. She likes her mac and cheese straight from the pot, unbaked and sans crunchy pieces. If your kids feel the same, the last step can indeed be skipped.

After all, today’s Sunday Supper event is all about getting kids and other picky eaters to eat their veggies. If you are looking for delicious recipes that will add more healthy vegetables to your family menu, check out this week's kid friendly vegetable recipes for picky eaters. Many thanks to our event manager, Cricket of Cricket's Confections and our host for this event, Anne from Simple and Savory for all of their work behind the scenes.

Kid Friendly Vegetable Recipes for Picky Eaters


Breakfast

Dinners

Sides

Snacks

For even more kid friendly vegetables check out these Vegetable Recipes for Picky Eaters by The Sunday Supper Movement Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter every Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

 To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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Food Lust People Love: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a delicious twist on a family favorite, adding extra nutrients to our comfort food. No one can resist this cheesy goodness! #SundaySupper

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