adapted from Sam Stern's "Cauliflower Cheese" in Cooking up a Storm: "This is great comfort food. The sauce has to be thick and creamy with punchy seasoning and a really strong-tasting Cheddar. You want it smooth, so measure out the ingredients as exactly as you can."
Rather than baking the sauce over steamed cauliflower, we simply poured it over leftover pasta spirals that had been reheated in a buttered dish in the oven at about 250 degrees. Very quick and very tasty. (We used whole milk - yes, organic - because we're weird that way.)
- macaroni or other mid-sized pasta
- salted water
for 12 minutes. Drain.
On low heat, melt in a saucepan:
- 4 Tablespoons butter
Gradually stir in:
- 1/4 cup flour
Continue stirring until the mix bubbles. Don't let it brown
Remove from heat. Whisk in:
- 2 cups milk
beating constantly so that the milk and flour mix together smoothly without lumps.
Return pan to heat. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens, then simmer 2 to 3 more minutes, continuing to stir so it doesn't burn.
- 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Salt and pepper
Return to the heat and stir for 1 minute. Pour over cooked pasta and mix together. (If you want, you may bake at 450 for 30 minutes.)