Roasted Cauliflower Shells and Cheese.
Since it’s Monday, I felt like vegetables were required.
This counts. Right?
RIGHT. I knew I could count on you.
Counting on my veg AND invisible internet friends this morning. So healthy all around!
Even though cauliflower was one of the first vegetables that I found remotely tolerable, I still don’t use it enough in different and unique ways. Years ago I discovered that when it was roasted – like really, really roasted – it almost took on a popcorn-esque flavor. Since then, I want to roast it for every single dish we make with it (hellllo charred cauliflower carbonara) and apparently I’m not stopping here.
At least this is better than other options that I felt were necessary when eating vegetable florets. I might have even considered chocolate sauce in my younger days. Proud of it.
My heart skips a beat at the sight of this cheese sauce. And I just wrote “beet” so I must have vegetables on the brain. And then I wrote “site” instead of “sight” so I’m trying super hard to not hate myself at the moment. THE INTERNET HAS DESTROYED ME.
But look at that stringy, delicious cheese! Heart hurts.
I used my favorite whole wheat shells, a super melty fontina and havarti cheese sauce and lots of roasted cauliflower. Contrary to other recipes I’ve seen, I did NOT make the cheese sauce out of cauliflower. I simply roasted the heck out of some cauli and threw it into the shells and sauce.
It was SO good. So, so, so, so good.
Even if it does look like we are on the beige diet here.
Roasted Cauliflower Shells and Cheese
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 cups whole wheat shell pasta
- 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 4 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
- 4 ounces havarti cheese, freshly grated
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch of salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the chopped cauliflower on a baking sheet. Toss it with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the garlic powder. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and slightly charred.
Reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees F. Bring a salted pot of water to a boil.
Heat a pot over medium-low heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in the flour and cook until fragrant and golden in color. Slowly whisk in the milk. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheeses, one small handful at a time, until melted. Stir in the mustard, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta according to its directions. Once the pasta is cooked, stir it and the cauliflower into the cheese sauce.
Pour the pasta in a dish and top with the breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Top with fresh herbs before serving.
Sometimes this is my version of feel good food.