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About Me

Phoenix, Arizona, United States
The most important thing in my life is my family. I love my dear husband and 4 wonderful children (ages 11 through 18). I am a stay-at-home mom (my dream job!). Some of my favorite things to do include cooking (and eating!), photography, reading, piano, flute, watching my favorite TV shows, swimming, traveling, and most recently...using the rip stick with my kids. I would love to attend culinary school someday & fit my love of photography in with that somehow. My dream vacation is Italy - something I was recently blessed to experience! I'd love to return and see more of that beautiful and DELICIOUS country! My days are usually full of running kids to and from activities - scouts, sports, music and church. Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe, but I absolutely LOVE my crazy life and the people I am lucky enough to share it with!

Friday, April 9, 2010

CAULIFLOWER AND PENNE GRATIN (from Art Smith's KITCHEN LIFE)

Life without macaroni and cheese would be sad indeed, but unhappily the current emphasis on low-carb diets could make this dish disappear. What I offer here is a recipe that uses half of the pasta but has all the goodness and even more flavor. The trick is to substitute a tasty cheese-friendly vegetable such as
cauliflower for some of the starchy carbs. If you are a cheddar fan, go right ahead and use it instead of Gruyere or Swiss cheese.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 head cauliflower (about 2 1/4 pounds), trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets
1/2 pound (about 3 cups) penne
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk, heated
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried bread crumbs

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat the inside of a 2 1/2- to 3-quart deep baking dish with the oil spray.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and return to a boil. Cook just until the cauliflower is barely tender, about 3 minutes (it will cook further during baking, so do not
overcook). Using a scoop or a large slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl of very cold water to cool. Drain well.

Add the penne to the same pot of boiling water and cook just until barely tender (it will cook more in the oven), about 7 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and let the mixture bubble without browning for 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking often. Return the heat to medium -low and let the sauce simmer until it is slightly thickened and has no raw flour taste, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Gruyere cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the baking dish. Mix the Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, sprinkle over the pasta, and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.

Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve hot.

MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS

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