While searching for a semi-healthy mac & cheese recipe that incorporates cauliflower, I found a little gem from Shape Magazine. This recipe involves a clove-studded onion, red pepper sauce (what?) and passing the roux through a sieve. Additionally, it includes Gruyère, chopped chives, bay leaves, and Worcestershire sauce. No offense, Shape, but at that point I’d whip out the Velveeta. Who the hell has a sieve, let alone time to insert cloves into an onion to infuse the milk. This is mac & cheese people, not an attempt at a James Beard award. Obviously Shape never got the memo that simple can be flavorful. I understand the interest in gourmet-ing up a comfort food recipe; however, the whole point of Shape magazine is to encourage people to live healthier lives with easy and useful tips, not to scare them away with technicalities and tools only found at Williams Sonoma. The recipe throws ease out the window and over-complicates what should be classic and fool-proof. Shame on you, Shape, shame on you.
I hope my recipe encourages you to get back in the kitchen for a healthier version of a delicious classic that doesn’t require a trip to Sur la Table.
- 3 tbs flour
- 3 tbs butter
- 2 1/4 cups skim milk
- 8 oz low-fat cheese
- 1 bag of frozen cauliflower
- 1/2 box of elbow macaroni or orecchiette
- Panko breadcrumbs (much healthy, and crunchier, than regular breadcrumbs)
- Boil pasta according to directions on box, until al dente. About 5 min before pasta is ready, add in the cauliflower, breaking up the pieces to ensure equal cooking time.
- Drain and rinse to stop cooking process, pour into greased baking dish.
- With pot on medium, med-high, melt butter and until it begins bubbling.
- Add flour and whisk for 2 min until it begins to brown.
- Add milk and stir until sauce thickens, about 5 min.
- Remove from heat, add a pinch of nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
- Add in cheese a handful at a time, reserving a little to sprinkle over the top.
- Pour over pasta/cauliflower and stir until fully incorporated.
- Top with cheese and panko and put in 375 degree oven until brown and bubbly. This step may require some oven-crouching.