My nephew, Dalton (sister’s son), and niece, Laurel, (brother’s daughter), got together on Christmas eve and cooked up this “boujee” (their description!) version of my favorite dish - mac’n cheese.
Tender roasted cauliflower florets, Gorgonzola cheese, and the organic pasta they used, sets this apart from my typical elbow macaroni and cheddar dish, and make it special enough to serve at any dinner party of distinction. It’s versatile enough to use as a vegetarian main, or a side. (Perhaps to a halibut filet?)
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (less than an inch)
¼ cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 large leeks, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 ounces pasta like farfalle, bowtie, or fusilli
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
chives for serving
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, leeks, and garlic with olive oil, salt and 3-4 twists of freshly ground black pepper. Spread in a single layer onto a baking sheet or roulade pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes until cauliflower is tender and all veggies are caramelized.
Cook pasta in large stock pot of salted boiling water - remove from heat just BEFORE it is al dente. Remove about 1 cup of the water - set aside, then drain the pot.
Return the pasta to the pot, add the butter, Gorgonzola, a few more twists of the black pepper and 1/2 cup pasta water. Stir thoroughly until cheese is melted and evenly distributed.
Add the roasted florets. leeks, and garlic to the pasta, then season with additional salt and pepper (if desired). If it is too dry, add more of the reserved pasta water.
Dish into shallow serving bowls and garnish with chopped chives. Serve it up warm and delicious!