Cooking with extra-sharp Cheddar lets you use less cheese without giving up flavor. Tender cauliflower adds fiber and vitamin C.
12 ounces multigrain elbow macaroni
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
4 slices multigrain bread, torn
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar (6 ounces)
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup 1 percent milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
How to Make It
Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the cauliflower during the last 3 minutes of cooking time; drain.
Meanwhile, pulse the bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Add the parsley, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and pulse to combine; set aside.
Return the pasta pot to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, just until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in the pasta, cauliflower, cheese, sour cream, milk, and mustard.
Transfer to a shallow 3-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
I agree with caspercrix's assessment that this is better characterized as a "cauliflower-macaroni dish with cheese". I roasted the cauliflower to enhance the flavor and used 1% cottage cheese instead of sour cream, pureeing them together with the milk to make the sauce. There was plenty to coat the elbows but it was still a little dry so I added an extra 1/4 cup milk before putting it in the oven. Instead of bothering with the crumb topping I just turned on the broiler for a few minutes. I also heeded the warning about the mustard and (ahem) cut it in half. I had only colby on hand so I used a full 8-oz block to make up for the milder flavor; but it still wasn't very cheesy. I will probably tinker with this some more as I love the cauliflower idea and it might be better if I used actual cheddar.
Made this for the first time tonight and was pretty impressed! Not sure if I would make it for a special occasion, but I'll definitely be making it again. I made this dish with a little more pasta (15 oz package vs 12 oz), more milk and cheese, but less sour cream (approx 1 cup only vs 1 1/2 cup) and bread crumb mixture than the recipe called for and it turned out great. I also added broccoli along with the cauliflower for extra flavor and nutrition. I'm looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow for lunch!
I just made this last night for dinner. I think next time I make it I'll leave the Dijon mustard out. Seemed like it overwhelmed the taste of the extra sharp cheddar.
I will say it heats up really well in the microwave. Didn't even add water. I think it may be even better the next day.
This pasta is great! The right amount of cheese and creaminess. I did not think that the cauliflower was overwhelming, in fact I thought it would be a great meal to "hide" vegetables in. I have made this twice already, it is a pretty large recipe, but the leftovers are great! Definatley will be making it again!
I'm a flavor kind of girl and this dish should NOT be called macaroni and CHEESE. I would name it Macaroni and Cauliflower. I went exactly as the instructions said and HIGHLY regret doing so. We have tons leftover and I'm just trashing it, I don't want to waste fridge space on it.
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