Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To Burundi with Love: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food (excluding vegans of course). This is another recipe for my dear friend in Burundi, where it appears cauliflower is also plentiful.  During my own short lived vegetarian life, cheese was an important part of my diet, not just for the protein factor but for the decadence factor.  If you can't have meat what would be your next go to when you want to indulge a little?  So I am feeling some serious empathy pangs for Melissa in a country where only one type of cheese is available.

Still, there is one.  And one that sounds pretty versatile at that.  Melissa mentioned that there is a Congolese cheese that is akin to a mild cheddar.  I usually use three parts of sharp cheddar with one part of a cheese that has a little tang like gruyere or blue.  With a milder cheese, I found that you have more room for a balance of flavors.

Have your cauliflower chopped and cheese shredded before you start.
I always start my mac and cheese with a roux.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, then add 2 tablespoons of flour and stir rapidly.  This will only take 30 seconds to cook.  Then add 2 cups of milk.  A dutch oven is perfect for this recipe so you can take it from the stove to the oven.
When your milk is heated, add your shredded cheese a handful at a time.  The amount of cheese you add is to taste.  I just stop adding when I get the thickness I like.  I shred about 6 oz. beforehand.
I added the cayenne pepper (to taste) and a tablespoon of dijon mustard to the cheese sauce to round out the flavor and give it a little kick.  Bread crumbs are going to give a nice texture later on so keep them on hand.

Sautee` your cauliflower in a skillet.  I like to use grapeseed oil for sauteeing this, but if your in Burundi, try to use butter.  If you can't use the corn oil and let me know how it turns out.  Add salt and pepper to taste. You will know it is done when it is tender and the edges turn golden.  For the last step toss your cooked pasta and cauliflower into the cheese sauce and mix well.  Then sprinkle bread crumbs to the top and stick under the broiler until the top sets. 
Mmmmm... What's missing? A beer? 

1 comment:

  1. what's missing?? my company!!

    my mum and aunt will love this as they're great veg-cheese fans.

    you've an award to pick from my blog. congrats!