I came across a recipe on Food Network, nicely shared by George Stella, who called this – let us be honest – cauliflower and cheese casserole – a low carb mac and cheese.
It is not.
It is, however, mebbe the BEST cauliflower and cheese casserole recipe I have tried and, while neither you nor your family will be fooled about the lack of pasta; I think all will be wicked happy.
•1 head cauliflower
•1 cup heavy cream
•2 oz cream cheese
•2 cups shredded cheese*
•1-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/8 tsp garlic powder
•1 tsp dried parsley
*The original recipe called for using only Cheddar cheese, which I though a bit boring. I also happened to have several nice blocks of cheese open for grating, so I used about 1/2 cup each of freshly shredded Fontina, Swiss, and Cheddar cheese to stir into the casserole, and then 1/2 cup of shredded Pepperoni Marinara cheese (available at ALDI) scattered over the top.
Cut the cauliflower into small florets, set aside, and heat your oven to 375º.
Brush a two quart baking dish with olive oil.
Heat a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, and add mebbe a teaspoon or two of salt. I go by the Anne Burrell advice that cooking water should taste like the ocean.
Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook just until it is crisp-tender – five minutes. Remove from the water and pat dry before adding to the oiled baking dish.
Place the heavy cream in a two quart pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. I add a wooden skewer as shown to help keep the cream from super heating and bubbling over (I know this works in the ‘wave, and figure it can’t hurt to take the same precaution on the stove top).
Set the heat to low, then whisk the cream cheese into the hot cream along with the mustard, seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, and 1-1/2 cup Fontina, Swiss, and Cheddar blend until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is smooth.
Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower in the baking pan and stir to combine.
Scatter the half cup of pepperoni marinara cheese over the top and pop into the oven, uncovered, to bake.
Mr. Stella recommended 15 minutes cooking time, until the casserole was nicely browned and bubbly, but I found that mine took approximately 25 minutes to get a casserole I thought nicely browned and all ooey-gooey cheesy.
In the best possible way, of course.
So, YEH – this is low carb and all, and very, very good, but still, I chose to serve this as if it was the main course, with a salad on the side, and, YEH, we weren’t fooled into forgetting about all the goodness that is mac and cheese; but we were still pretty happy with the dinner. If you aren’t quite up to a cauliflower main course, go ahead and add this to your feast day supper menu, folk will be very glad you did.