Despite multiple steps (and my addition of a trip into the oven), this mac and cheese recipe is incredibly fast and easy to put together. Though the first lady's recipe doesn't specify a means to cook the cauliflower, I chose to steam the florets and use the steaming liquid in the puree to infuse more of that great flavor into the dish. A crunchy breadcrumb crust is another addition to the original.
1 pound penne pasta
1 cup 2-percent or skim milk
1 pound shredded cheddar cheese (or a mixture of your favorite melting cheeses)
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
- Steam the cauliflower until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender along with a few tablespoons of the steaming liquid. Puree the cauliflower, adding more steaming liquid to thin the puree if necessary.
- In a medium size casserole dish, combine the pasta and hot cauliflower puree. Add the milk, both cheeses, parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a small bowl, mix the butter and breadcrumbs with your fingers until it resembles damp sand. Sprinkle across the top of the pasta mixture, then place the dish in the oven for about 20 minutes until the top is crispy and the sauce is bubbling.
- Main Dishes, Pasta
- Serves 4 to 6