Kristin’s Honey & Pepper Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

My sisters were recently visiting Strasbourg and a miracle occurred.  Kristin suggested that she cook us dinner.  I thought I should get my ears checked!  Because Kristin rarely takes to the kitchen in such a manner, I made sure to carefully observe every move she made while whipping up her and Michael’s “secret” creation.  Her recipe is simple but with an extra twist that makes all of the difference.  And when I am homesick, I plan on making this comfort dish in order to feel like I’m with my sisters once again getting a little “taste” of home.

The problem with my version of her recipe was that I didn’t use a strong enough cheese. I made the mistake of buying my cheese in Germany.  Why on Earth would I do such a thing when I live in France, a country where cheese flows freely and stinks strongly? Next time feel free to replace the taleggio with gouda, fontina or even munster and keep in mind that using raclette cheese is not nearly strong enough.  Though even with a mild cheese, the French roommates who generally scoff at all savory American dishes served themselves twice.

Kristin’s Honey & Pepper Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 6 very hungry people or 8 French people (less hungry. All the time.) What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb macaroni (shells are good, think oozy cheese macaroni)
  • 2/3 lb taleggio cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • honey
  • salt
  • black pepper

Now what?

1)   The first thing you have to do is roast your cauliflower.  To do so, mix it with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out the florets on an aluminum lined baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400 f until it is crispy (20-30 minutes.)  In the meanwhile, cook your pasta in salted water according to the obvious pasta cooking directions.

2)   Next you need to make a roux.  Roux are one of my biggest enemies. In order not to “roux”in your roux (get it?), you just need to go slowly.  Melt butter in a pot on medium heat.  Add flour and whisk until the mixture thickens.  Once thickened, add the milk slowly (in several intervals) continuously whisking.  It is always easier to thin it out (by adding more milk) than to thicken it up (by adding more flour), so going slowly is very key.  Should something go wrong, you might end up ruing the day you ruined your roux.

3)   Once your roux has a nice consistent texture, dump the taleggio and parmesan into the pot and stir until you’ve got a nice, thick cheese sauce that far surpasses any velveeta box you’ve ever eaten.

4)   Combine your roasted cauliflower, cooked pasta and cheese sauce in a baking or serving dish.

5)   Many people prefer a baked macaroni and cheese and so if you’d like, now you can top it with breadcrumbs and broil in the oven until crispy.

6)   If you choose not to broil, now freely add honey and tons of black pepper to take this macaroni and cheese from comfortably familiar to comfortably amazing!

“cheesus christ this is good!”- Kristin


One Comment to “Kristin’s Honey & Pepper Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. I had the pleasure of also trying this dish that very night and it was AWESOME! So is this blog post 🙂

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