Last night I cooked dinner for my parents, my ex, my ex-laws, Mike's mom & sister, Mike, Abigail and I. They are all here for Abigail's high school graduation today. Since I had a crowd I thought of one of Abigail's favorites-mac & cheese. I have a recipe we love with cauliflower and tomatoes so you can feel alittle better about all the cheese and crème fraîche. I also made baked chicken, see April 28th post, and a salad with romaine, tomatoes and avocados.
The mac & cheese is from Bon Appetit by Bruce Aidells, who I've met at my cousin Lisa's house. She is a food writer extraordinaire and wrote a book about pork with Bruce. Here's the recipe link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cheesy-Baked-Penne-with-Cauliflower-and-Creme-Fraiche-350111
Bruce's mac and cheese my way
1 organic cauliflower, cored, cut into 1-inch florets
I box Pomi chopped tomatoes
5 tablespoons butter, divided
4 thinly sliced green onions
Coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups half Gruyère and half Fontina; about 9 ounces), divided
3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup crème fraîche*
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 lb. penne
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Cook cauliflower in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Using large sieve, transfer cauliflower to bowl. Reserve pot of water.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower; sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and green onions. Cook 1 minute to blend flavors. Remove from heat. Season with coarse salt and pepper.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in cream. Cook until sauce thickens, whisking occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add 2 cups Gruyère Fontina cheese; whisk until melted and sauce is smooth. Whisk in 1/2 cup Parmesan, then crème fraîche and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Return reserved pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; add pasta to pot with the sauce. Stir in cauliflower mixture.
Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon in half of pasta mixture; sprinkle with 1/2 cup Comté cheese. Top with remaining pasta mixture and 1/2 cup Gruyère Fontina cheese. Sprinkle crumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese over pasta. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pasta uncovered until heated through and bubbling, about 35 minutes.
This is rich and delicious and can be a meal with salad and fruit. It was a hit with everyone. It does take time to make so plan accordingly. Abigail missed dinner because she had to go to Mass as part of her graduation. There are always leftovers!!