Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower

  This clever and delicious mac and cheese rendition slips in cauliflower florets for extra nutrition.

Prep/cook time: 35 minutes / Serves 6

This clever and delicious mac and cheese rendition slips in cauliflower florets for extra nutrition. Prep tips: The key to making this dish shine is to cut the cauliflower into pieces about the same size as the noodles. For even more vitamins and fiber, stir in a cup of peas before baking.

4 ounces (about 1 cup) whole-wheat elbow macaroni

3 cups cauliflower florets (about ½ medium head), chopped into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup reduced-fat (2 percent) or whole milk

1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)

1 cup grated medium or sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup seasoned coarse bread crumbs or crushed crackers

1. Lightly oil an 8-inch square casserole. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add noodles and cook for 4 minutes. Add cauliflower pieces and cook for 3 minutes, or al dente (both cauliflower and noodles). Drain.

2. While noodles are cooking, preheat broiler and place oven rack in middle position.

3. Heat butter in a medium-large pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in broth and milk, and cook at a low boil for 7–9 minutes, until thickened. Whisk in pepper and cayenne (if using). Whisk in cheese about 1/4 cup at a time, until melted. Taste and season with salt and additional pepper.

4. Add cooked pasta and cauliflower into cheese mixture and stir to coat. Transfer to prepared pan and sprinkle with crumbs. Broil until golden, about 2 minutes.

PER SERVING: 242 cal, 10g fat (3g mono, 1g poly, 6g sat), 28mg chol, 12g protein, 28g carb, 3g fiber, 338mg sodium

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