Prep 40 mins
Cook 20 mins
To save time this may be prepared earlier in the day to be baked later, careful not to overcook the cauliflower and the pasta as it will become too soft when cooked in the oven --- this is also great using broccoli
- 6 -7 cups fresh cauliflower florets, cooked until firm-tender, and drained very well
- 8 ounces medium pasta shells or 8 ounces similar small shell pasta
- 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 3 cups half-and-half cream
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1⁄8 teaspoon dried nutmeg
- 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1⁄2 cup finely chopped green onion, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (optional)
- 1 1⁄2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 -2 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- 2 -3 tablespoons melted butter
- Set oven to 400 degrees F.
- Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
- In a heavy-bottomed medium-size saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup butter, whisk in the thyme, nutmeg, fresh garlic, cayenne pepper and black pepper; whisk/mix for 2 minutes.
- Add/whisk in the flour, mix for 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly add/whisk in the half and half cream; whisk on med-low heat, until a light boil and thick; reduce heat to low, contine to whisk and cook for 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat, add in the grated cheddar, Parmesan cheese, green onion and the Dijon mustard (if using); mix until all the cheese has melted; season with salt and more black pepper to taste.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
- Mix together the sauce, cooked pasta and the cooked, drained cauliflower; toss to combine.
- Transfer and spread the mixture into a prepared greased baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, 1-2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese and the melted butter.
- Sprinkle over the cauliflower mixture in the baking pan.
- Bake for 20 22 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
I substituted the cream with 1% milk, which is less fatty and used crushed "Ritz" crackers for the topping. Delicious. Thanks.
Love it! Very very tasty! I made it just as written and used the "optional" Dijon mustard. I recommend using the Dijon; it really adds a lot to the dish. This is also a kid-pleaser, yet good enough for guests. We'll have this again; thanx for posting!
I made a reduced fat version of this last night. I cooked the cauliflower in boiling salted water for about 4 minutes, drained and used the same water to cook the pasta. Instead of the cream I used reconstituted non-fat dry milk. I decreased the Dijon mustard to 2 teaspoons and sprinkled some paprika over the bread crumbs for additional color and appeal. Makes an attractive dish that is lower in carbs. Thanks for posting.