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Roasted Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
Roasted Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese PHOTO: LIZ ANDREW/STYLING: ERIN MCDOWELL

Sometimes we feel like having a big, healthy bowl of roasted cauliflower. Sometimes we feel like eating a gooey, decadent bowl of mac and cheese. And most times (OK, all the time), we want to stir them both together and create the best meal ever invented. Presenting cauliflower macaroni and cheese. Yep, it’s as amazing as it sounds.

RELATED: The Best Cauliflower Recipes of All Time

Makes 6 servings

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mac and Cheese

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ sweet onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2½ cups whole milk

1 pound dry, bite-size pasta, like gemelli

2½ cups shredded white cheddar cheese

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Topping

½ cup panko bread crumbs

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons melted butter

1. Roast the Cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour into an even layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast until tender and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Make the Mac and Cheese: In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.

4. Add the flour to the pot and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk gradually, whisking to incorporate. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until it thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package’s instructions. Drain well.

6. Put the sauce back on the stove over medium-low heat. Stir in the cheese until it melts, then add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the pasta and cauliflower, tossing well to coat.

7. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. (The recipe can be made up to this point and refrigerated until ready to bake and serve.)

8. Make the Topping: In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the Parmesan and melted butter. Sprinkle it in an even layer over the pasta and cauliflower.

9. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and has thickened slightly, 25 to 30 minutes (40 to 50 minutes if baking after refrigerating). Serve immediately.

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