This easy and extra cheesy one-pot cauliflower mac and cheese dinner gets a heathified veggie bump thanks to caramelized cauliflower added to the velvety cheese pasta.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword mac and cheese
Prep Time 25minutes
Cook Time 10minutes
Total Time 35minutes
1poundpastaI used large shells, but you could use elbows, rotini or capatappi
2clovesgarlicpressed or minced
1 1/2lb.cauliflowercut into 1/2-inch florets and roughly chopped into smaller pieces
3cupsCache Valley Dairy Colby and Monterey Jack cheeseshredded
2cupsCache Valley Dairy Medium Cheddar Cheeseshredded
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season generously with kosher salt and cook the pasta just until al dente. Drain and place back in the pot or into a large bowl.
While pasta is cooking, in a large, high-sided non-stick skillet over medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add the panko breadcrumbs. Season with the garlic salt and stir the breadcrumbs often until golden, toasted and fragrant. Transfer immediately to a small bowl and set aside.
To roast the cauliflower, in the same skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the cauliflower to the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and add 1/4 cup water. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the cauliflower is softened and caramelized. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add to the pasta.
To prepare the cheese sauce, wipe the skillet clean and melt the remaining butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine, cooking for about 3-4 minutes, until the flour mixture becomes light brown in color. Add the milk while whisking and cook for about 5-8 minutes or until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, whisking often.
Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and stir in the cheeses until melted. Pour over the pasta and cauliflower and stir to combine, getting the cheese in all of the nooks and crannys of the pasta. Transfer the mac and cheese mixture back to the skillet and sprinkle with the toasted panko crumbs. Bake in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, tenting the top with aluminum foil if the panko crumbs start to become too browned, and serve.
Note that you want to buy blocks of cheese and shred them yourself. Pre-shredded cheese is often coated in cornstarch to prevent it from clumping together, and that can make the cheese sauce grainy.