Monday, September 12, 2011

Cleaning out the fridge: Mac and cheese with cauliflower

Whoops. Carrying in two armloads worth of farmers market finds on Saturday, I realized I had no room to put anything - and worse, plenty of things I should have already fixed in the fridge.

That's where a little inspiratio n struck. I tweaked a recipe for Rachel Ray's Mac & Cheddar with Broccoli and came up with an acceptable surprise for lunch. It was not the originally planned sausage and portobello pizza, but the end result was a few less cauliflower and several half-used packages of cheese from the fridge.

Mac and cheese with cauliflower

1 lb. pasta shells
2 1/2 c. cauliflower (about 1/2 head)
1 T. olive oil
2 T. butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 T. wheat flour
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 t. smoke paprika
3 c. skim milk
1 c. chicken stock
3 c. grated cheese (used a mix of sharp cheddar, taco cheese and colby jack)
1 T. dijon mustard

Cook pasta in boiling water, 5 min. Add cauliflower and cook additional 3-4 min. or until cauliflower is just tender. Drain well and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, melt butter with olive oil in pan, at medium heat. Cook onions 3-5 minutes. Raise heat, whisk in flour and spices. Whisk until roux bubbles and cook 1 minute more. Add milk and stock and raise the heat a bit higher until it bubbles. (Be careful to continue stirring, or you may have it scald on the bottom.) Drop heat and simmer 3-5 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Add cheese and stir to melt; add mustard and salt and pepper. Pour over pasta and cauliflower; stir to combine.

Spicy but good!

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