I kept hearing about the cauliflower "mac & cheese" for years and somehow I felt that it had a bad rep. Every time I would hear/read about it, it was more of a "punishment" or something you had to do when you are on a diet, trying to lose weight. I couldn't really understand why people were so disappointed when they heard that there is no macaroni in the dish. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love all kinds of pasta too, but I also like the cauliflower and I don't see anything wrong with a cauliflower smothered with a creamy, cheese sauce... with some more cheese on the top! Does that sounds like a "punishment" food to you? Exactly!
So I decided to make my own and see what this whining was all about! Here is the recipe that makes about 6 servings (depending on if you use it as a main dish or a side):
* 2 cauliflower heads, cut into small florets
* 4 cups whole milk
* 4 tbs unsalted butter
* 4 tbs flour
* 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
* 1 cup fresh parsley
* pinch of nutmeg
* 0.5 cup Panko bread crumbs
* salt and pepper
1. Boil the cauliflower until al dente - no more than 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and add flour - cook for a minute, constantly whisking (very important).
3. Slowly keep adding milk, whisking constantly and cook everything for 4-5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add parsley, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. When the sauce is thick, add 2 cups of shredded cheese and mix until melted and combined.
4. Add the cauliflower to the sauce and mix gently to combine.
5. Pour everything into the baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and Panko bread crumbs and bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Holly smokes, that is delicious! Obviously, if you don't want to use a whole milk you can substitute it with skim, or part-fat, it just happens that thanks to my son I have a fridge full of whole milk - so why not use it!
I made mine very "saucy", so if you don't like a lot of sauce (that is creamy, gooey, cheese and delicious!!!) you may want to reduce the milk/butter/flour amount by 1 measurement.
Enjoy and Happy Mother's Day to all Mamas out there!!!!