Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Bedeviled Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
I'm not entirely sure about this, but I think I have already confessed to you that Ryan and I watch an inordinate number of cooking shows? Particularly cooking contest shows like Dinner Impossible, The Next Iron Chef, Chopped and The Next Food Network Star? Anyway, we started watching Ten Dollar Dinners after Melissa D'Arabian won The Next Food Network star a few years ago. I watch it because her recipes tend to turn out really well. Ryan watches it so he can heckle. He takes exception to what they claim costs under $10. Recently she roasted a chicken with potatoes, a side of swiss chard and made a dessert with Nutella and called it under ten bucks. Around here the going rate for a jar of Nutella is about $6.00 (yes, I know there's some serious price gouging in these parts). Even if you're not using the whole thing, you still have to shell out the six bucks to get it. Also, she always talks about proteins going on sale. Maybe it's this whole East-Coast-big-city thing I've got working, but I've yet to see sale chicken or steak. The one thing I do have though, is the dollar vegetable bags at the produce stand in Reading Terminal Market. This week Ryan scored a cauliflower for $1.50. I know, not a dollar, but it was a huge whomping cauliflower. With the cauliflower and the pasta being the main ingredients in this dish, I'm pretty sure we've got a real candidate for Ten Dollar Dinners here.
BEDEVILED CAULIFLOWER MAC & CHEESE
I'm calling this bedeviled because the spicing is pretty much the same as if you wanted to devil something else, like chicken or eggs.
4 C chopped cauliflower
1/2 lb medium shell pasta
3 T butter
1 3/4 C shredded cheddar cheese (use bright orange if you'd like your bedeviling to turn out holiday colored)
1 T flour
1/2 C milk
1 T dijon
1 t paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
topping: 1/3 C breadcrumbs + 1-2 T melted butter
Preheat the oven to 325F. Chop your cauliflower into shell sized florets. I use a steamer basket in a pot, and started from ice cold - it took about 15 minutes until tender. If you add the cauliflower when the water is boiling it shouldn't take nearly as long. Or maybe I just had a rough day. I'd check it starting at about 5 minutes.
Boil water for the pasta and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside. In the pasta pot (I used a huge one), melt the 3 T of butter. Add the flour and stir well. Cook for 2-3 minutes over low heat until the flour is golden. Slowly add the milk, stirring or whisking well to incorporate the flour. Continue to stir and add the dijon, paprika and cayenne. Then slowly add the cheese until the cheese is all melted in the sauce. Add the cooked shells to the sauce and toss gently. Finally add the steamed cauliflower and again toss gently until everything is coated in cheesy goodness. Pour into a greased casserole dish (I used a 1.5 quart dish). On the stove top melt the 1-2 tablespoons of butter for the topping. Add the breadcrumbs. Toss a few times until the breadcrumbs are golden and fluffy. Top the cauliflower and shells with the breadcrumbs and bake for 20-30 minutes.