Prep 45 mins
Cook 35 mins
This is my favorite time of the year, because I can enjoy the warmth of the kitchen. While I'm enjoying all the warmth, I can make all of my cold-weather recipes. This is definitely one of them! Feel free to use full fat cheeses and whole milk if you like, but it's really delicious without.
- 8 cups water
- 6 cups cauliflower florets (about 1-1/2 pounds)
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 8 ounces uncooked small shell pasta (any small pasta will do)
- 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups 1% low-fat milk
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped or 3⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cup reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1⁄2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
- 3⁄4 cup green onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 slices white bread
- 2 teaspoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan; add cauliflower and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling water, and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Remove cauliflower with a slotted spoon, reserving cooking liquid; set cauliflower aside. Bring cooking liquid to a rolling boil. Add pasta, and cook 7 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.
- Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour and milk in a saucepan, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in thyme and garlic; cook over medium heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, cheeses, onions, mustard, and pepper.
- Combine cauliflower, pasta, and cheese sauce in a large bowl. Spoon the cauliflower mixture into a 13x9-inch baking dish. Place bread in food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form to measure 1 cup. Combine breadcrumbs with butter; sprinkle evenly over cauliflower mixture. Bake 400°F for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
I made this recipe with 2 small changes. First, I used regular cheddar, not reduced fat, and used panko as the topping instead of the bread crumbs. I found that the flavor was very good, creamy and garlicky, but lacked salt. Next time, I'll up the salt. The panko worked okay, but I think the bread crumbs would work better and will try that next time.