You will love this easy to make stove top mac and cheese. If you don’t have pancetta, use bacon or ham. The cauliflower takes on the flavors of both the cheese and ham and adds texture. You'll love the addition. Plus you can say you ate your veggie today! Tender cauliflower and pasta in a creamy cheese sauce topped with crispy bacon. recipe is easy, cheesy and delicious!
Macaroni and Cheese with Pancetta and Cauliflower
8 oz. pancetta, diced
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch florets
3 to 6 more tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded fontina, gouda or guyere cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream (add more cream if too dry)
16 ounce box elbow macaroni, cooked until al dente
In a 4-quart pot over medium heat, cook the pancetta (or diced bacon) until lightly brown and a little crispy, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Do not drain fat. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Bring another large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Break down the cauliflower head into small florets and add them to the boiling water. Bring to a boil, then pour off water to only about an inch. Reduce heat to simmer and cover pot allowing it to steam until it can be pierced with a fork but isn't mushy, 5 to 10 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to move the cauliflower into a colander. Drain well and return to the warm pot for a few minutes to draw out more moisture. Drain again and set aside.
Whisk in cream and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the cheeses, nutmeg, salt and pepper and a bit of cayenne if using stir until well blended. Stir in the pasta, pancetta and cauliflower and mix well. Serve and enjoy!
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