Really Cheesy Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower

I love mac and cheese. Really, who doesn’t. It’s the best comfort food, I think. This recipe incorporates cauliflower and tomatoes so I thought Riley would dig it and get a serving of veggies too. Unfortunately, she was not in the mood for mac and cheese the day I made this so Derek and I dogged the entire pan in just a couple days. It was so good. Really cheesey, moist and full of flavor. The Romano breadcrumb topping was great too, adding a wonderful salty crunch. Maybe your kid will be in a mac and cheese mood today.

Derek used a little Frank's Hot Sauce on top.

8 servings

Adapted from Recipe by Bruce Aidells in Bon Appetit


  • 1  1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound head of cauliflower, cored, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups coarsely grated cheese (I used half Gruyère and half sharp Cheddar), divided
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Romano cheese, divided
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 10 ounces whole wheat Rotini pasta (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from crustless French bread ground in processor)


  • Cook cauliflower in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Using large sieve, transfer cauliflower to bowl. Add tomatoes to pot; cook 1 minute. Remove from water; peel and dice tomatoes. Reserve pot of water.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower; sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cook 1 minute to blend flavors. Remove from heat. Season with coarse salt and pepper.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook until sauce thickens, whisking occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add 2 cups Gruyere/Cheddar cheese; whisk until melted and sauce is smooth. Whisk in 1/2 cup Romano, then yogurt and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
  • Return reserved pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return pasta to same pot. Stir in cauliflower mixture and sauce.
  • Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon in half of pasta mixture; sprinkle with 1/2 cup Gruyere/Cheddar cheese. Top with remaining pasta mixture and 1/2 cup Gruyere/Cheddar cheese. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in small skillet. Add breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Remove from heat; mix in 1/4 cup Romano. Sprinkle crumbs over pasta. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pasta uncovered until heated through and bubbling, about 35 minutes.

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