I set out to make this Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower dish from Real Simple one evening, but it just didn’t work out. I didn’t have any macaroni (or any short cut pasta for that matter) and some how mac and cheese with linguine just doesn’t work. So, I improvised. And you know what, it was pretty tasty!
If you haven’t tried it, roasting cauliflower somehow transforms this somewhat stinky, bland vegetable. It gets crisp on the outside and tender and flavorful on the inside. Paired with a delightfully rich, but somewhat light, cheddar sauce, I was in heaven. Do yourself a favor and get some good cheddar, mine was on sale at Whole Foods this weekend and was perfect. With all the flavor, you won’t miss the cream and butter found in most cheese sauces. Here, greek yogurt and low-fat milk lighten it up, but don’t take away from the cheese’s rich yumminess.
As I was prepping dinner I ran into the living room and squealed to Ross, “It’s cheese night!” He didn’t quite share my enthusiasm, but he did enjoy it, so what more can I ask?
A handful of linguine
1 head of cauliflower
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. olive oil
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 cup loosely packed grated cheddar cheese (grate your own – so much better!)
1/3 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
1 tsp. dijon mustard
black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for the cauliflower
1.) Set the oven to 400*F. Chop the head of cauliflower into florets and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and generous sprinklings of salt and pepper. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread out the florets. Tip: Place the pieces cut side down, so they get nice and brown (see the picture). Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.
2.) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for about 8 minutes.
3.) In another small pot, heat the butter over medium heat then add the garlic. Saute until soft and fragrant (about two minutes). Add the flour and stir to create a roux. Cook for 1 minute.
4.) Stir in the milk to the roux, then add the yogurt. The yogurt will curdle a bit, but don’t worry, it will cook out. Stir in the salt, pepper and dijon mustard. Add the cheese and stir until the sauce looks nice and smooth.
5.) When the pasta and cauliflower are done, toss with the cheese sauce and eat!