Mel’s Best Ever Mac and Cheese
This recipe is adapted from the mac and cheese on offer at your nearest Whole Foods hot food bar. The great thing about this recipe is it tastes cheesier than the fat content, which is good for maintaining race weight. The cauliflower not only improves the nutrient content of this version of macaroni and cheese, it also increases the “cheesiness” without additional milk or cheese. You can choose whatever pasta you like but the medium shells hold more cheesy goodness. The addition of kale is optional as it is merely a nutrient booster. You could also add a bit of chopped cooked chicken to up the protein content or if you are looking for the ultimate flavour profile go for some crispy pancetta. I like to make mine very spicy so the spices in this recipe reflect that. If you would prefer a milder or more traditional mac n cheese, omit the spices.
3 tbsp butter
1 diced onion
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
1.5 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp coriander
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp cayenne
1 diced jalapeno, seeded
2.5 cups shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, marble or mix)
1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped
1 head of cauliflower
1 pound of cooked pasta (shells, penne, rotini, or macaroni)
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ cup parmesan
First wash, dry and sprinkle olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper on the cauliflower. Roast whole in the oven at 375 degrees for an hour or until the head is so soft and caramelized it is squishy. Cool and transfer to a Vitamix or blender and pulse until the cauliflower is pureed. You may need to add a bit of milk to the cauliflower to get it to puree. Set it aside. (You can do this while you are starting the preparation of everything else but you probably need the cauliflower in the oven for 30 minutes before you start the rest of the recipe.)
Melt butter in saucepan and add onions. Saute onions until translucent, then add flour and cook for two to three minutes over medium heat, stirring to prevent any burning on the bottom of the pan. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly as the mixture thickens then add all of the spices and the cauliflower. Bring mixture to a boil before reducing heat and simmering for 15 minutes.
Remove pan from the heat and add the cheese and kale. Stir the mixture until the cheese is melted then combine with the pasta. Pour into a 9 x 11 casserole dish. Stir together breadcrumbs and parmesan and sprinkle over the top. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.