Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Serves 8

The best thing about this yummy dish is that it comes together so fast. There’s only one trick: be sure to add the cheese to the sauce at the last minute and then immediately remove the pan from the heat. If you continue to cook the sauce after adding the cheese, the fats will separate from the proteins and the cheese will become gritty.

1 pound penne pasta
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
1 quart milk
1 pinch nutmeg
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
⅓ cup shredded Swiss cheese
¾ cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 cup or so cooked cauliflower

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º. In a large pot with boiling, salted water, cook the pasta for 12 minutes, uncovered, then drain in a colander.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute, then add the milk and bring to a boil. Keep stirring and when the white sauce is well mixed, reduce the heat to simmer. Add the nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the ricotta cheese. Add the pasta and toss well, then stir in the Swiss cheese and half of the Cheddar.
  4. Scatter the cauliflower in an ovenproof dish and spoon the pasta and cheesy sauce on top. Smooth the top with a spatula and sprinkle on the remaining Cheddar. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cheese is nicely browned.