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.
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.