Cauliflower and Ricotta Mac and Cheese is the answer when you’re looking for a healthier alternative to regular mac and cheese. It was created to bring the creamy craveability of the traditional recipe with the wholesome addition of cauliflower, whole grain pasta and the healthy protein boost of ricotta.
Roasting the cauliflower first in a baking dish brings more depth of flavor and becomes the hidden treasure nestled under the pasta and cheese sauce.
Preparing the Ingredients
Trimming the florets off the head of cauliflower is easily done with Cutco’s Gourmet Prep Knife. Its sharp pointed tip can wiggle its way into the tight-fitting florets to cut them off.
Outside of that, the rest of the prep work is just a matter of shredding the Gruyère cheese and cooking the pasta.
Putting it Together
Once the cauliflower is roasted, it’s covered in a delicious and creamy cheese sauce. Use a large Slotted Spoon to spread the mixture evenly over the cauliflower.
Looking for even more flavor? Roast sliced crimini mushrooms with the cauliflower for an umami boost. Actually, any veggie or mixture of them works too. Red peppers, broccoli or asparagus with the cauliflower makes this a veggie celebration.
This dish is great to double and prepare one batch for tonight’s dinner and another to freeze.
To freeze it, after topping the cauliflower with the pasta and cheese, let it cool and then tightly wrap and pop in the freezer. When ready to enjoy next time, take it from the freezer to the oven, and add about 15 minutes to the bake time.
This is creamy, craveable and delicious, and it’s a crowd-pleaser that I feel good about serving.
If you enjoy this Cauliflower and Ricotta Mac and Cheese, give Cutco’s Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe a try.
Cauliflower and Ricotta Mac and Cheese
- 4 cups small cauliflower florets
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons PS Flavor!? Creole Kitchen spice blend or other Creole seasoning, or kosher salt and black pepper, to taste, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces whole wheat pasta (fusilli or reginetti pasta)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 quart 1% or 2% milk
- 1 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups), divided
- Fresh herbs, or microgreens, optional garnish
- Place a 3-quart baking dish into the oven; heat to 375 F
- Toss the cauliflower with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning. Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Roast until lightly golden brown.
- Meanwhile, bring a large part of water to boil. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and then add the pasta and cook until al dente, 9-10 minutes. Drain well and toss with a 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.
- In a large saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over moderate heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining Creole seasoning and then gradually stir in the milk beginning with a 1/4 cup and stirring till smooth and then slowly whisk in the remaining milk until smooth. Bring the sauce to a light boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 12-15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the ricotta. Stir in the pasta, then 1 cup of the Gruyère and season with additional Creole Kitchen and kosher salt, if needed.
- Spread the pasta and cheese mixture over the cauliflower and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and preheat the broiler. Sprinkle remaining Gruyère on top and broil 8 inches from the heat until the top browns, about 2-4 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs or microgreens if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!