2 or 3 cups of dried pasta, macaroni, penne or rotini, etc.
Salted, boiling water
1 small head of cauliflower
1 stalk of broccoli (optional)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or other good quality oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups whole milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese or a combination of cheddar and Swiss, Asiago or other ‘melting’ cheese.
¼ cup melted butter
2 cups breadcrumbs or panko
¼ cup grated parmesan
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Cook until just ‘al denté’. Drain, toss with a little olive oil.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Shave the outside of the broccoli and cauliflower so just the outside of the florets are removed. Save the rest of the vegetables for soup or a purée (alternatively, place florets in food processor and process until mixture is about the size of garden peas.)
Toss these with the oil and salt and pepper.
Place in the casserole dish you will use for the macaroni, and roast in the hot oven until the mixture begins to brown.
Remove from oven and save to combine with the macaroni and cheese mixture.
Heat the milk gently but don’t let it boil.
In a large saucepan, heat the butter. Add chopped onion and
sauté until the onion is translucent.
Add the flour and stir for about 2 or 3 minutes to cook the flour.
Slowly add the hot milk mixture and bring to a very gentle boil.
Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and the taste of flour is gone. (about 10 minutes)
Remove from heat and add the cheese. Stir until melted.
If a little zestier flavour is what you like, add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add pasta and combine well.
Add to the vegetables in casserole dish and stir to combine.
Top with bread crumb mixture and return to oven to brown bread crumbs.
Casserole may be frozen before or after baking. If you double the recipe and make one casserole for the freezer, allow the one for the freezer to cool, wrap tightly and freeze before cooking. Add the topping just before baking and serving.