Truffled Macaroni w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Mushrooms
Sometimes I get a hardcore craving for macaroni and cheese that just won’t quit. The problem is that I’m still in the process of my weight loss and I have a calorie budget to consider. Fortunately I love the challenge of taking a delightfully fatty and indulgent meal then converting it to something a little more figure friendly… without sacrificing flavor of course. I used a 2 quart baking dish and calculated the calories based on it being enough to feed 4 people – so we’re not skimping on the portion size with this one either. You could probably serve this as a side and spread it between 5-6 people (344 & 287 calories per serving in those cases), but like I said… my craving for macaroni that just won’t quit? I’m so eating 1/4 of what’s in that pan.
I knew that I wanted to deviate from my traditional macaroni recipe which calls for enough butter to give a stegosaurus a heart attack and enough cheese to set Wisconsin back 15 years. My first decision was to replace some of that carby pasta with nutty, roasted cauliflower and my second decision was to use truffle oil in it. I love mushrooms with truffle oil so opting to toss those in was a no brainer. In the end I feel like I made a macaroni and cheese recipe that stands well enough on it’s own to grace any Thanksgiving table. It’s not something that you eat and say, “Oh yeah this is good… for having reduced calories…” Instead you say, “More macaroni please!”
Truffled Mac and Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower
Summary: Lighter version of macaroni and cheese that will fool you into thinking you’re cheating on your diet.
- 1/2 Head of Cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 8oz Package of Mushrooms, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 2 Cups Fusilli Pasta, dry
- 2 Tablespoons Flour
- 2 Cups Skim Milk
- 2oz Neufchatel (1/3 reduced fat)
- 2oz Fontina, grated
- 2oz Havarti, grated
- 1/2 Teaspoon Truffle Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme
- 1/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425F. Spray or butter a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
- Toss cauliflower florets with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and distribute evenly on a cookie sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is in the oven, heat 1/2 of the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the butter is warm add in your chopped mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper to season, and cover. Let cook for 5-6 minutes until the juices are released and mushrooms are soft. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Cook your pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the suggested package time. When done, drain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process. The cauliflower should also be finishing around this time. Remove it from the oven and set aside with the pasta and mushrooms. Reduce oven temperature to 400F.
- In a high sided skillet, heat the other half of your butter over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Add flour and whisk, allowing it to cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour in your skim milk and whisk well. Continue to stir occasionally while the sauce thickens slightly over the next 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from heat and stir in the neufchatel until melted. Add 3/4 of the grated cheeses and stir until melted. Season with a bit of salt and pepper (I used about half a teaspoon of each), then add your truffle oil and fresh thyme.
- Gently fold your mushrooms, cauliflower, and pasta into the cheese sauce and transfer to your greased baking dish. Top with the remaining grated cheese and panko bread crumbs. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
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you had me at truffle oil. i made this the other night and although it was pretty good, i wouldn't call it mac n cheese, it tasted a lot like truffled tuna casserole without the tuna. it was a lot of work too! took me almost 2 hours from start to finish...haha, i'm probably just horrible inefficient in the kitchen and really anal about cleaning my veggies.
@iliketocook I'm glad to hear that you tried it out, even if it wasn't as mac and cheesy as you hoped! :] I think the key to being efficient while making this dish is to overlap your processes (by cooking the mushrooms while the cauliflower is roasting for instance). I think that doing something like roasting the cauliflower in the morning or even the night before would save time as well, since it's not important for it to be hot when it goes into the oven. Thanks for taking the time to comment. The feedback always helps for the next recipe. :)