Recipe: Mushroom and cauliflower mac and cheese

Cauliflower mushroom mac n cheese made by Jill Wilcox at Jill's Table in London, Ontario on Monday...

Cauliflower mushroom mac n cheese made by Jill Wilcox at Jill's Table in London, Ontario on Monday March 24, 2014. CRAIG GLOVER/QMI Agency

Jill Wilcox, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

Pasta in a cheesy sauce and topped with breadcrumbs and baked until light golden is an all-time favourite.

This week I’m combining good quality short pasta with the current darling of the vegetable world – cauliflower. This versatile vegetable is the perfect partner to the pasta. It is similar in color, soft in texture but offers a delicate flavour. I’ve also added a good helping of sautéed specialty mushrooms to give added flavour to this classic dish.

The handy thing about Mac and Cheese is it can be assembled ahead. About an hour before dinner, take it out of the fridge for 30 minutes then pop it into a preheated oven.

Serve it with a large tossed salad of assorted greens and ripe tomatoes for a very satisfying meal.

Mushroom and Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (750ml) cauliflower florets
  • 3 cups short pasta
  • 3 tbsp. (45 ml) butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped (or one very small cooking onion)
  • 3 cups (750 ml) of chopped specialty mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. (25 ml) flour
  • 3 cups (750 ml) milk
  • 2 cups (500 ml) grated Fontina cheese
  • 1/2 c. (100 ml) grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup (250 ml) panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) melted butter

 

Directions:

  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tsp. (10 ml) salt.
  • Blanch the cauliflower until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Add the pasta to the water and cook until just al dente. Drain.
  • While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot or onion and cook until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Stir in the flour until well combined, stirring constantly. (This will be quite thick.)
  • Slowly add the milk and continue to whisk until well incorporated and thickened. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the Fontina cheese and a ¼ cup (50 ml) of Parmesan. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the cauliflower. Then add the cheese/mushroom sauce and stir to combine.
  • Transfer to a 9 x 13 buttered, shallow, ovenproof casserole dish.
  • In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, remaining ¼ cup (50 ml) of Parmesan and melted butter. Top the casserole with the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Bake 375 F. for 30 -35 minutes.

(Serves 6-8)


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