Several friends have asked for this recipe in the last few weeks… here goes!
Around Thanksgiving, Andrew’s playgroup buddies had a little potluck party and we were asked to bring macaroni and cheese. Being me, I didn’t exactly plan ahead so I used what I had on hand and attempted to veggie it up as much as I thought would be tolerated by a bunch of 3- and 4- year olds. Here it is:
Smoky Cheesy Cauliflower and Macaroni
One pound of cooked macaroni, any shape
One head of cauliflower; washed, chopped to bite size and steamed lightly
One cup of croutons crushed (I use the caesar kind made from both brown and white bread)
3 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons flour
2-3 cups of milk
8-12 oz cheese, shredded or chopped up (for the kiddie party I used a combination of the following cheeses: gruyere, cheddar, american, smoked gouda and smoked swiss slices from the Hannaford deli… apparently we had quite a variety of cheese on hand!)
salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder, paprika or other spices to taste
Cook the macaroni and cauliflower.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When bubbly, whisk in the flour to make a roux. Cook, stirring constantly 1-2 minutes or until it just begins to brown. Add milk and whisk to blend the roux into the milk. Bring to a gently boil, stirring frequently and boil until just beginning to thicken. Reduce heat to low and add cheese. (btw I dont usually measure my butter/flour/milk/cheese… I just sort of wing it which is why the measurements are in ranges… you could reference a cookbook or other mac and cheese recipe for exact ratios. Just remember to make a little extra than you would for just macaroni since there is also the cauliflower to be sauced up!) Cook, stirring constantly for a minute or two until the cheese is all melted. Add salt, pepper and spices to taste. Mix the macaroni, cauliflower and cheese sauce together and pour it all into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle the smashed up croutons over the top and bake at 350-375 for about 30-45 min. Yum! I have also made this with lots of other veggies: broccoli, red peppers, green beans, peas, sauteed onions, spinach, etc. The trick is to not overcook the veggies before mixing with the mac so they dont turn out mushy in the end. And, I think the smoked cheese is what really makes the whole dish so tasty!