Friday, November 21, 2014

Macaroni and Cheese with Tricolor Cauliflower

Sunday, November 16, 2014, was a memorable day for me because of Niv (Panfusine), Siri (Cooking with Siri) and Radhika (Food for Seven Stages of Life).   We met at Niv's place on a cold, crisp, gorgeous afternoon.  I have met Niv once before and Radhika many time.  But I was super thrilled and excited to meet Siri.  Loved her bubbly and enthusiastic personality.  We had so much fun chatting and eating Mexican food.  Thank you gals for the wonderful time.

Now coming to the recipe, who needs an introduction to this rich, cheesy, creamy and tasty any day comfort food.  It is super yummy and great for a Thanksgiving gathering.  I found some gorgeous purple and orange cauliflower at my local farmers market.  After using it in another dish, I tossed some leftover florets in this recipe.  You can add any vegetable as you like.  Here is Siri's Mac and Cheese recipe.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4

Elbow macaroni - 2 cups, 16oz
Butter - 3 tbsp
All purpose flour - 3 tbsp
Milk - 3 cups, whole or 2 %
Grated sharp cheddar cheese - 2 cups
Grated Parmesan cheese - 1/4 cup
Ground black pepper - 1 tsp
Ground ginger - 1 tsp
Ground nutmeg - 1/2 tsp
Cauliflower florets - 2 cups, white, purple and orange, steam cooked
Salt - 1/2 tsp

For the crust topping:
Panko bread crumbs - 3/4 cup
Dried basil - 1 tsp
Dried oregano - 1 tsp
Cayenne pepper - 1/2 tsp
Butter - 1 tbsp, room temperature

  1. Wash and steam cook the cauliflower florets until tender.
  2. Boil the pasta according to package instructions.  Reduce two minutes of cooking time as it will cook further while baking.  Drain and keep t aside.
  3. Combine all the ingredients for the crust topping and keep it aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
  5. Melt 3 tbsp butter in a large sauce pan over low heat.  Add 3 tbsp AP flour, ground ginger, nutmeg, black pepper and salt.
  6. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly.  Remove from heat.
  7. Add milk and put it back on heat. Bring it to boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  8. Remove from heat.  Add the cheeses and whisk until the cheese melts.  Add the cauliflower and mix well.
  9. Add the cooked pasta in cheese sauce and gently mix.
  10. Pour the mixture into a baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  11. Remove the foil and spread the bread crumbs topping evenly over the pasta.  Put it back in the oven and broil until golden brown.
  12. Serve hot.

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