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Fall Recipes: Cauliflower Mac 'n' Cheese

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cauliflower mac and cheese

This cold-night staple serves up ample creamy gooeyness, while a stealthy vegetable (puréed cauliflower!) boosts vitamins and fiber.

YIELDS:10 - 12 servings
TOTAL TIME:1 hour 0 mins
3 tbsp. 

olive oil, divided, plus more for baking dish

1 lb. 

cavatappi or other short pasta


medium-sized head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cored and thinly sliced


cloves garlic, sliced


large yellow onion, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 oz. 

extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

2 oz. 

Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

1/4 tsp. 

mustard powder

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 1/2 c. 

panko breadcrumbs 

1/2 c. 

fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Step 1.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Step 2.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add cauliflower, garlic, and onion. Season with salt. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add 4 cups water and simmer until vegetables are very soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 cups cooking liquid; let cool slightly.
Step 3.
Combine vegetables, Cheddar, Parmesan, mustard powder, and cayenne in a blender (depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do this in two batches). Purée, adding just enough reserved cooking liquid to get mixture moving, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 4.
Add sauce to pasta and toss to combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Toss together panko, parsley, and remaining tablespoon oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over pasta. Bake until golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes.


Secrets recipe from CountryLiving