Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

This is actually my second recipe for Cauliflower Mac & Cheese – the first substitutes ½ the pasta with cauliflower.  But in this recipe, the cauliflower is pureed (to mashed potato consistency), practically hiding the fact that the dish contains a vegetable.  In fact, in order to insure the kids didn’t know about the cauliflower, I made this dish single-handedly – literally, as my right arm is currently in a cast!

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1 ½ inch florets
  • ½ medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 12 oz. penne pasta
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1 ½ cups parmesan cheese, finely grated
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Put the cauliflower, onion and garlic in a steamer basket set over 1 inch of boiling water in a 6-quart pot. Cover and steam until the cauliflower is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower, onion and garlic to a blender.
  1. Fill the pot ¾ full of salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than the package timing. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.
  2. While the pasta cooks, add 1 cup of the milk, the dry mustard, salt and pepper to the vegetables in the blender and purée until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and stir in the remaining 1 cup of milk and the thyme. Heat over medium-low heat until hot but not boiling, about 3 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cheddar and parmesan cheeses. Add all but ½ cup of the cheese to the sauce and stir until the cheese is melted. Add the sauce to the pasta and stir to combine. Transfer the pasta and sauce to medium size oven-proof baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake until heated through and the cheese is beginning to brown, 20 to 30 minutes.

Prep time:                   25 minutes

Cook time:                  30 minutes

Additional time:          prep time of 25 minutes includes cooking cauliflower, heating water for pasta and cooking pasta

Cooking Temp:           375 °

Servings:                      6

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