Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese With Golden Bread Crumbs
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow pasta
- 4 cups small cauliflower florets
- 2 3/4 cups low-fat milk
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt plus a pinch
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, preferably white
- 4 ounces shredded Gruyere (about 1 cup)
- 1 ounce grated Parmesan (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs, preferably whole-wheat
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1. Coat a 21/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . In a large pot, cook pasta for 1 minute less than package instructions call for, adding cauliflower to pot 4 minutes before pasta is done. Drain thoroughly and return pasta and cauliflower to pot.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup milk, flour, mustard, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic powder and pepper in a small bowl. Heat remaining milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until steaming but not simmering. Whisk flour mixture into milk and continue cooking, stirring often, until thickened and bubbling, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Gruyere and Parmesan until melted and smooth.
3. Stir cheese sauce into pasta and cauliflower and transfer to prepared baking dish. Combine bread crumbs, oil, paprika and pinch of salt in a small bowl. Top macaroni and cheese with bread crumb mixture and bake until bubbling and golden, 22 to 25 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.