Homemade Mac n Cheese with Cauliflower Crumble

All my New Year’s resolutions seem to contradict each other which has made for a confusing start to the year.

For example…

Resolution #1- Be more natural. By this I mean, use all natural products when cooking, cleaning and bathing. I even want to switch to all natural make up!

Resolution #2- Try something new. (like Botox)

See how that’s not going to end well. It’s hard, even for me, to tell if I’m joking or not.

Resolution #3- Be a more open, smiling, approachable person. You know, the type of girl you might see at the gym and say, “Hey you look nice, want to be our friend and cook great meals together, and paddle board, and go on an occasional ladies champagne lunch?” Does that happen?

Resolution #4- Get a big, badass tattoo on my right arm.  (Sorry mom)

You don’t think that will scare away any potential friends, do you?

Resolution #5- Less waste. In the kitchen, shopping, money, lunch boxes, all around- less waste!

Resolution #6- Substantially reduce the amount of cheese and bread I consume.

I have a somewhat ridiculous amount of fancy cheese left over from the holidays in my refrigerator. In my book it’s not Christmas without a drawer full of cheese and I may have overdone it this year. Now, I don’t want to eat it all, but I can’t just let it go to waste!

What to do?

Less waste vs. eating less cheese.

It’s hard to say what resolutions will prevail in 2014, but in the case of cheese- let’s get grating.

However! Since it is still January, and you can’t break a resolution this early on, I’m going to make a compromise. Instead of putting bread crumbs on top, I’m going to use finely chopped cauliflower.

There, now everyone’s happy!

Homemade Mac n Cheese 

You will need…

about 3 cups of shredded cheese. (I used 1 cup cave aged gruyere, 1 cup mature English cheddar, 1 cup medium cheddar) You can use whatever cheese you have and it will be delicious.

a box of your favorite pasta (I used rotini)

3 tb butter

3 tb flour

3-4 cups milk

a few grates of whole nutmeg

1/2 of a small cauliflower head

handful of flat leaf parsley

salt and pepper

Here we go…

Set a large pot of salted water to boil for your pasta. Cook your pasta to al dente, drain and set aside. While your pasta is cooking, you can grate the cheese. Maybe grate a little extra for the little hands that will no doubt keep sneaking into the kitchen to steal little pinches of cheese.

For the cheese sauce we will start by making a simple béchamel. In a sauce pan cook your  3 tbs of butter together with your 3 tbs of flour. Keep a close eye on this, stirring frequently. If you burn it just start over. You want to cook out all the raw flour taste and end up with a nice blonde roux.

To this add 3 cups of milk. I like to alternate stirring between a wooden spoon and a wisk to make sure nothing is getting stuck to the bottom of the pan. It will thicken as it comes to a gentle boil. Season with about 1 teaspoon of salt, a few cracks of pepper and a few grates of whole nutmeg.

In this dish, the secret ingredient is the nutmeg. If you have not yet made the switch from that old, ground nutmeg jar in the back of your spice rack to whole nutmeg, now is the time. The difference is mind blowing! Add it to your 2014 to do list.

Slowly wisk in all the grated cheese, and keep stirring until you have a nice, smooth, white sauce. At this point you can decide if the sauce is too thick. I added about a 1/2 cup more milk to my sauce. When you get it just right stir in the cooked pasta.

Pour this into a 9 x 12 greased pan. Or into 2 mini pans if you want one now and one later.

 If you want, you can stop at this point and… eat. I normally set aside a bowl for my kids cause they prefer their mac n cheese without any toppings or crumbles.

Otherwise, get out your cusinart, vitamix, or cutting board and sharp knife. Break down the cauliflower a bit before adding it to the cusinart. Pulse with 1 teaspoon of salt and a handful of flat leaf parsley until it resembles couscous. Now that’s a yummy idea!

Sprinkle over the top of your mac n cheese and into the oven it goes until the top is browned.

Since everything was already hot, I just put the dish on a low rack under the broiler for about 5 minutes. If you made the dish earlier and it needs to be reheated, I’d go 15 minutes at 400.
Happy New Year!
About Maui Flour Child

Aloha, I'm Maui Flour Child. I love cooking for my family & friends using fresh, local ingredients. Live life with aloha in your heart and flour in your hair! -Angela

Comments

  1. Mmmmm, this looks delish. Thanks for the kid version too – without the crumbles 🙂 You read my mind on that one!

    Miss you guys. Let’s make macaroni together soon! xoxo
    Sarah recently posted..A little somethin’ somethin’My Profile

  2. Patty Thibaut says:

    Love the recipe, not so sure about one of the New Years resolutions though:))
    Miss you!

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