Thursday, December 19, 2013

Brown Macaroni with 4 Cheeses & Cauliflower

     Found this recipe in the Nov. 2013 issue of Rachel Ray Magazine.   I love the fact that this hearty dish serves enough as a side dish for 12 (making it perfect for the holidays, or any other celebration) or an entrée for 6.

Brown Macaroni with 4 Cheeses & Cauliflower

1-lb. whole grain or farro penne rigate
1 head cauliflower or Romanesco (Roman broccoli) cut into bite-size florets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
5 Tbsp. butter
10 large shallots, thinly sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped/minced
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 C chicken or vegetable stock
3 Tbsp. flour
Freshly grated or ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard or 1/2 tsp. cayenne
2 C milk
2-1/2 C mixed grated cheese; sharp white cheddar, Asiago and Fontina OR Gruyere
1/2 C grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the water and cook the penne until al dente, about 8 minutes, adding the cauliflower during the last 4 minutes of cooking.  Drain and return pasta and cauliflower to the pot.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium-low, heat the oil, turn turns of the pan.  Add 1 Tbsp. of the butter.  Once it foams, add the shallots and garlic.  Season with salt, pepper, the thyme and rosemary.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are light golden, about 20 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the stock.

Preheat the broiler. In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 4 Tbsp. butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour, nutmeg and dry mustard and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk and the remaining 1/2 cup stock, then stir in the cheese using a figure 8-motion.  Cook over medium-high heat until thick enough to coat the spoon, 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

Add the shallot mixture and sauce to the pasta pot.  Stir to combine.  Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish; top with the parmigiano-reggiano.  Broil until browned and bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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