Hope everyone had a lovely (get it? lovely?) Valentine’s Day! Mine was certainly full of love, first from the bacon jam I made that is too hard to quit, then from the kid I worked with that said “ball” for the first time, and later from Matt, who made me steak, garlic taters, and glazed carrots.
I heartily (get it?!) enjoy Valentine’s Day. I’ve always loved giving friends a little bit of pink and hearts one day a year (I have fond memories of The Rock valentines I gave out in high school…can you smellllllll…). Taken from a post written in 2009, my view on V-Day:
Of course I agree that you should show love all year round, and yes, buying a box of candy on this one day is kind of silly, but what’s wrong with one day out of the year being set aside for LOVE? You don’t have to spend money. You don’t have to make reservations at a fancy restaurant that probably isn’t very good anyway. You don’t even have to be dating anyone! Just show LOVE to the people in your life that make you laugh ’til you cry, make you feel good about yourself, and sit with you on the couch watching yet another Jersey Shore marathon. Significant other, best friend, or your dog…doesn’t matter. Use this year’s Valentine’s Day to LOVE.
I hope you did just that! Now, let’s get to the food.
This deliciously cheesy, creamy, veggie dish works for a side or an entrée. Well technically, it works all the time but I suppose you can give it a fancy name like dinner or entrée if you want to.
This, my friends, is mac-and-cheese cauliflower. I kept saying cauliflower mac-and-cheese, but Matt demanded I switch terms, as the latter is misleading to those expecting the pasta part.
There is no pasta but you definitely don’t miss it. You get the creamy bite without all the carbs and gluten, with a huge dose of veggies to boot! The recipe, adapted from Vegetarian Times, is easy enough to follow too.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and boil the cauliflower until just tender (about 5 minutes), reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.
Melt butter, whisking with flour to create a roux, then adding milk, garlic, and the cooking liquid. Cook until thick (7-10 minutes), then fold in the cheese, cayenne, and an egg yolk, followed by the cauliflower.
Top with breadcrumbs and bake about 30 minutes. Walla! Mac and cheese without the mac!
This is a great way to satisfy the craving without all the pasta. Be careful not to overcook the cauliflower. Boiling until just tender means you should do just that! It’s OK if it’s still a bit hard. It’s going to bake for 30 minutes more.
I do think the recipe could use a bit more spice. It wasn’t bland per say, but I think more cayenne and garlic wouldn’t be a bad thing. Play with spice at will!
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
by Every Little Thing
Keywords: bake side entree vegetarian
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 4 cups cauliflower florets (or 1 large head of cauliflower)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1.5 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cups milk or milk substitute
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the cauliflower. Boil about 5 minutes, until just tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.. Add cauliflower florets, and boil 5 to 7 minutes, or until just tender.
Melt the butter in the same pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook just for a minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk, garlic, and reserved cooking liquid, cook 7 to 10 minutes until the sauce is thickened, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and and stir in the cheese, cayenne pepper, and egg yolk until cheese is melted. Fold in the cauliflower.
Coat a baking dish with cooking spray and spread the cauliflower mixture inside, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 30 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubble. Broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the breadcrumbs.
Happy hump day!
Question: What’s the most unique take on mac-and-cheese that you’ve eaten?