Variation on Mark Bittman's Creamy Cauliflower Mac

Submitted by Joyfulleah

It's practically his recipe with a few small changes...


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the baking dish
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth or broth/water combo
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cauliflower, cored and in large chunks
  • 8 ounces favorite pasta
  • ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup Panko (or other bread crumbs)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put the broth/water with the bay leaves in a saucepan over medium-low heat. When small bubbles appear along the sides, about 5 minutes later, turn off the heat and let stand.
  2. Cook the cauliflower in the boiling water until very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove bay leaves from broth, and transfer cauliflower to the saucepan with a slotted spoon (do NOT dump out water, keep boiling).
  3. Heat oven to 400° and grease a 9-inch square baking dish with olive oil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until it’s just a bit undercooked, about 3 minutes less than the recommended time. Drain it, and transfer to the baking dish.
  4. Use an immersion blender or potato masher to carefully puree the cauliflower. Then add the olive oil, cheese, mustard, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to the mix and puree again. Adjust seasonings to taste, and pour over pasta, tossing if necessary. Sprinkle top with Panko and Parmesan cheese and bake until bubbling and brown, about 15 – 20 minutes.


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