Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT PALEO.
In fact, by my own definition, it would barely classify as Primal.
What it is, however, is obnoxiously delicious. The buttery, faintly sweet and nutty taste of roasted cauliflower resplendent (oh yes, respelendant!) with rich and creamy and ooey-gooey cheese sauce and topped with buttery almond meal 'bread crumbs'.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you comfort food at it's cheesiest.
I was needing comfort this week. The cavekids started school again, this time with all 3 boys going full-time. It's the first time since they've been born that I've been away from them (with the exception of a few vacations here and there). Moreover, it's the first time in too many years to count that I haven't been surrounded by kids (my own or someone elses) on a daily basis.
You'd think I would be clicking my heels and rejoicing. Instead, I'm going through an odd identity crisis and tearing up when i think about not having them at home with me.
I'm such a sap sometimes.
Thankfully, the first day back at school went amazingly well for both them and me. Therefore, this dish was both a comfort and a celebration.
It's a multi-tasking side dish. And a pretty awesome one at that!
I've tried several homemade macaroni and cheese recipes over the years, but I was never able to find that ONE that worked perfectly- where the taste was amazing and the sauce didn't 'break' in the oven. We always resorted to the awful pre-packaged stuff in the blue box for fail-proof mac n cheese that Chris and the cavekids would eat- apparently, my attempts were never good enough.
I'm still sort of bitter about it.
I'll be honest, they didn't really like this version either. Chris complained about the 'crunchy bits' (Helllloooo, it's cauliflower. It's going to be different than noodles!!) and the boys, well. The rule in our house is 'you don't have to like it; you just have to try it'… but I think their mind was made up (and their bellies full of the ribs I'd made!) before they got around to it. I let it slide this time… more for ME!!
Seriously, I love this stuff. I was anticipating it with my lunch so much that I very nearly broke down and had it for breakfast.
Yes, I'm weird.
The dish started with a head of cauliflower- the stems and the florets- being chopped up into macaroni-sized pieces.
These were tossed in the oven in a roasting dish (in my case it was my glass pie pan) for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the cauliflower was browned and soft.
While it was cooking, I made the sauce: cheddar cheese, heavy cream, and cream cheese were combined in my saucepan until creamy and melted, and sour cream stirred in, along with salt and pepper to taste.
I also added a little ground mustard, a dash of paprika, and a squirt of sirhacha for taste, just because.
Once the cauliflower was done, the cheese sauce was poured over, and topped with a almond meal-and-butter 'breadcrumb' crust. Honestly, the topping was tasty, but I could have done without the extra carbs of the almond meal. I'll be leaving it off next time.
The whole thing is baked in the oven for an additional 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the almond meal is golden brown and toasted.
Hmm. Would it be wrong of me to go get some more…right now?
Cauliflower "Mac" n' Cheese
1 small head cauliflower
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (freshly grated- not the already shredded stuff!)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut cauliflower into small macaroni sized pieces (florets and stems) and place in a casserole dish.
Roast cauliflower for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are golden and it is easily pierced with a fork.
While cauliflower is roasting, fill a saucepan with the heavy cream, cream cheese and shredded cheddar. Heat on medium high.
Slowly whisk the cheese as it melts until sauce is well mixed. "
Add sour cream to thicken.
Stir in garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
Remove roasted cauliflower from oven and pour cheese sauce over cauliflower. Mix evenly.
Combine melted butter, almond meal and parmesan. Spread over the cauliflower.
Roast uncovered in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until crumbs are golden brown and cheese is bubbling.
recipe adapted from Eatingrichly.comPin It