Serving macaroni and cheese in the skillet it’s baked in amps up the homey comfort factor. The secret ingredient in this bread crumb-topped beauty is the finely chopped cauliflower that blends in subtly with the pasta. Using three different cheeses guarantees maximum flavor and meltability.
2 cups 1-inch-wide cauliflower florets
1¼ cups Light-and-Crisp Whole-Wheat Bread Crumbs
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups cold low-fat (1%) milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1¼ cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (5 ounces)
¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese (1 ounce)
2 teaspoons mustard powder
¾ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) whole-grain elbow macaroni, cooked for 3 minutes less than the package directions (about 3 cups cooked)
Nonstick cooking spray
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Place the cauliflower into a steamer basket fitted over the pot, cover, and steam until just tender, about 5 minutes. Finely chop the steamed cauliflower.
3. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan and oil.
4. In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, two to three minutes. Stir in the cheddar, Gruyere, mustard powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Whisk until the cheeses are melted and the mixture is smooth, one to two minutes. Add the chopped cauliflower and macaroni and stir until well coated.
5. Spray an ovenproof 10-inch high-sided skillet with cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the prepared skillet. Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture, place on a baking sheet, and bake until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes.
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