Cheesy Baked Penne with Cauliflower

bake penne cheese
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Cauliflower and cheese are a classic combination

and here they come together in a sophisticated take on macaroni and cheese. The cauliflower adds flavor and beneficial nutrients, and it lightens up the calorie count of each portion.

Cheesy Baked Penne with Cauliflower

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Ingredients (serves 2-3)

  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • 8 ounce package Mild Cheddar
  • 3 ounces shredded Mozzarella (about 1/2 cup.)
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of cream
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch or flour.
  • Half a package of pasta - any type really. I used about 8 ounces of Penne. Bow tie, spirals, shell, macaroni, even spaghetti (break in half,) would be fine.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions

  1. -Cook pasta about half the recommended cooking time. You will finish cooking in the oven. Drain and set aside.
  2. -Break down whole cauliflower by just snapping (or slicing) off the florets. Work from the outside of cauliflower and move inward. You can halve the largest florets, if you want. Set aside.
  3. -Add 1 heaping teaspoon of cornstarch, or flour, into 1 1/2 cups of milk, and whisk. Pour into a casserole dish or ovenproof pot (should hold at least 8 cups, or 2 quarts.) Next add a cup of cream (or an equal amount of milk.)
  4. -Add half or the pasta, cauliflower and cheese (save 1/2 cup Mozzeralla and/or Parmesan as a topping.) Mix, then add the rest. Season with salt and pepper (not too much salt, as cheese has plenty.) Mix again and top with a layer of Mozzeralla and/or Parmesan cheese.
  5. -Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. To finish, just remove cover and allow cheese to lightly brown for about 10 -15 minutes.

Note: Just to be safe, make sure that the milk and cream does not reach the top lip of your baking dish — leave an inch from the top, pasta may expand a little. You could put a baking pan underneath in case any liquid bubbles out.

Cheesy Baked Penne with Cauliflower
Cheesy Baked Penne with Cauliflower