Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Cheese
(with Spinach Bechamel)
I wanted to make macaroni and cheese for my family, but I wanted to lighten it up. I figured if I replaced the pasta with vegetables, but kept that cheesy, creamy flavor, I would accomplish my goal. I was very satisfied and snuck in all those extra vitamins (and took out all those carbs!)
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1-2 crowns of broccoli, cut into florets
16 ounce bag chopped frozen spinach, defrosted, and strained
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk (+ extra if sauce is tight)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
4 -8 Slices Sharp White Cheddar Cheese (depending on size/shape of baking dish)
Cook cauliflower and broccoli in large pot of salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 2/3 cup cooking liquid. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Cool.
Defrost spinach – Squeeze spinach dry.
Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Gradually whisk in milk and reserved 2/3 cup vegetable cooking liquid. Whisk constantly over medium heat until sauce thickens and boils, about 3 minutes.
Stir in spinach and parmesan cheese.
Put cauliflower and broccoli in a large bowl. Add spinach béchamel sauce; stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread vegetable mixture in dish.
(I made this for Christmas dinner, so if you need the extra time to focus on last minute things, this can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)
Top with additional parmesan and sliced White Cheddar.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes if at room temperature and 35 minutes if chilled. Remove cover for last 10 minutes or so of cooking.