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Farmer’s Mac & CheeseMAC and cheese. Mac and CHEESE. Mac AND cheese. Regardless of where you put the emPHAsis on the syllABLE, you will LOVE this version. My fellow veggie friend introduced me to this recipe, and I promise, you will not miss the meat. Plus, since it’s filled with veggies (okay, just one) it’s semi-healthy in my brain. Don’t worry about the seemingly extensive ingredient list, we forgot about half when we made it the first time and it still turned out delicious. Ingredients:
1/2 pound dry pasta, such as rigatoni
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
2 pinches of fresh grated nutmeg
2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
1/2 wheel garlic and herb Boursin cheese
Basil pesto to taste (optional)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
Fresh herbs, such has parsley, basil, or chives, chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional add-ins: sauteed portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, asparagus, broccoli, roasted garlic, etc. Today, I chose portobellos.
Preheat oven to 350° F.Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. When the pasta is a few minutes away from being done, add the cauliflower. When both are al dente, drain in a colander, transfer to a large bowl, and set aside.Heat the cream in the same pot over medium heat, then transfer the cauliflower and pasta back to pot with the warm cream. Add the mustard, nutmeg, and Tabasco. Cook over medium heat and allow to thicken slightly, stirring occasionally. Fold in the Swiss cheese and Boursin. Stir in the basil pesto, if using, and remove from heat.
Mix the egg into the pasta and cauliflower mixture and transfer to a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking dish and pour in the cream mixture. Mix together the Parmesan, bread crumbs, butter, paprika, and herbs, if using. Top the pasta with this mixture. Garnish with tomato slices (optional). Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the edges are bubbly and brown.
The finished product speaks for itself. Make it for your Christmas dinner, you won’t regret it!
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