02.09.12_Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and Sauteed Kale
I realize that regular Mac and Cheese is vegetarian but what fun is that. I saw this post for Mac and Cheese Style cauliflower that was served as a side and thought it would be great to take this recipe and adapt it to be a main course. Who can say no to a baked casserole dish of cheddar cheese?! I did not increase the size of the dish since it already called for an entire head of cauliflower but did make some adjustments to make it feel like more of an entree. My modified recipe used:
1 large head cauliflower cut into medium floret
1 cup broccoli (we had some in the freezer so I decided to add it in)
2 Tbsp butter (I used Country Crock)
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups low fat milk
1 clove garlic, minced
1.5 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp of nutmeg
2 egg yolks
1/2 panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
Parsley (for garnish)
First, I cooked the cauliflower in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. At the very end I dropped the cup of frozen broccoli into the pot just to defrost it. After reserving a cup of the water, I drained the cauliflower and broccoli and set aside. Then in the same pot, I melted the butter and whisked in the flour. I was a little worried because it was clumpy but after adding the cooking water, milk, and garlic, the clumps went away as I whisked for the next 10 minutes. Once the sauce thickened, I added the cheese. Before adding the eggs, I tempered them with some of the sauce to make sure I didn't end up with scrambled eggs in the cheese sauce. Finally, I grated some fresh nutmeg into the sauce and added the pinch of cayenne. I folded the cauliflower and broccoli into the cheese sauce, poured in a baking dish I had sprayed with cooking spray, and put the dish into a 350° oven.
While the cauliflower cooked I moved onto making our side dish, sauteed kale. I've never cooked with kale because the amount of fresh kale you need to get several servings is insane. I felt pretty ridiculous walking out of the grocery store with a 2lb bag of kale that was literally the size of my chest. I followed Bobby Flay's recipe for this. I quickly sauteed 2 cloves of garlic in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until soft before adding 1/2 cup of veggie stock. Then it was time for the kale. This was a sight to see. My largest sauce pot was apparently not big enough so I had to add the kale in small batches, tossing the kale with tongs constantly until it had wilted enough to add more. We used 1.5lbs like the recipe called for and by the time it was all cooked down it made about 4-5 servings. We finished the kale with 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
Back to the cauliflower! After 30 minutes, I it out of the oven and was discouraged by the amount of liquid in the dish. I ended up draining a couple of ladles full of the sauce so it wouldn't be so runny. I think the head of cauliflower I bought must have been to small. Luckily, I was adding panko to the top so it worked out great. I sprinkled the panko bread crumbs and Pecorino Romano cheese across the entire dish then stuck the baking dish under the broiler for a few minutes until it was golden brown. I topped the dish with some fresh parsley and voila! It came out great. The panko made it a lot less runny and made it feel like a main course. The kale was super delicious and went great on the side. I would definitely make this again. So good! I'm excited for leftovers tomorrow!