It’s been cold here in Arizona. I know! I know! I could be in the Midwest, or Chicago, or elsewhere that snow falls. But give me this…in a city known for its mild winters, nighttime lows of 19 degrees and daytime highs of 40 degrees gets pretty chilly for a girl who is used to lows being in the…er…60s. (Don’t hate if you live some place cold. On the flip side, we get lovely 115 degree summers).
There is nothing better than warm, crispy-on-top, gooey-in-the-middle macaroni and cheese for a chilly Sunday dinner. Serve with a side of sauteed rainbow chard for a whole, meatless meal. The leftovers from the mac and cheese were gone in 24 hours…doesn’t that alone speak for itself?
The dish adds cauliflower to the macaroni and cheese for a delightfully nutty addition. I am no pro with a kitchen knife – and I don’t know if being a pro would help here – but every time I chop of a head of cauliflower, my kitchen loos like it’s been hit with a snow storm. I’ll gladly take cauliflower cutting tips…
Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower, adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Food Revolution
1 large head of cauliflower, washed and chopped into bite sized pieces
4 ounces Gruyere cheese
8 ounces Vermont white cheddar
2 tablespoons cumin
1/2 to 1/3 cup milk
1 lbs macaroni or rottini pasta
1 large pinch salt (plus salt for the pasta water)
Pepper (to taste)
1. Set a large stock pot with enough water for the pasta on the stock to boil. Add a generous amount of salt to flavor the pasta. Most of the salt will remain in the water, so don’t be too phased by putting a hearty pinch in the water. This ultimately helps flavor the dish and keeps us from adding more salt at the end.
2. Prep the cauliflower while the water comes to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and the cauliflower. Cook per the directions on the pasta, usually 7-8 minutes or until al dente.
3. Heat the broiler on low to medium.
4. In separate saucepan, melt the cheeses together with the milk, starting with less than 1/2 cup, then continuing to add until the sauce is the desired consistency. Add the cumin at this time and combine.
5. Drain the pasta, reserving some cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the stock pot and combine with the cheese mixture. Gently stir together until all pasta is coated. Feel free to serve the dish now, if you don’t want to put it under the broiler.
6. Transfer the pasta to an ovenproof casserole dish and place under broiler for 8-15 minutes, depending on how crispy you like the tops. Serve warm with a green salad or sauteed chard.