Friday, May 02, 2008

Jeanne's Baked Ziti with Cauliflower and Cheese

Jeanne’s Baked Ziti with Cauliflower & Cheese
From Blue Eggs & Yellow Tomatoes

Hands on time: 30 minutes or so
Baking time: 30 minutes
Serves 8


4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3 cups cold milk
1 bay leaf
8 oz/226g Gruyere cheese, grated
8 oz/226g Sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
12oz/340g ziti pasta - I used whole wheat Scoobi Do (think bigger macaroni)
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets, florets sliced
2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C and butter a 13”x9” baking dish.

2. Melt 2 tbsp b utter in a heavy bottom, large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, then flour and continue stirring 1 minute (do not brown the flour). Add the milk all at once along with the bay leaf. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture just boils and thickens, about 8 minutes. Add the cheese and simmer and stir until they melt. Stir in salt, cayenne, pepper and nutmeg. Remove the bay leaf and season with sauce to taste. (Can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate.)

3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water until almost tender (about 8 minutes). Add the cauliflower to the pasta and continue boiling until the pasta and the cauliflower are tender, about 4 minutes. Drain very well. Add the pasta and cauliflower to the cheese mixture and stir well. Mix in the parsley.

4. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter and combine with Panko in a small bowl. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season with salt and sprinkle evenly over the pasta. (Can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

5. Bake until the crumbs are golden brown and the pasta bubbles at the edges and is heated through, about 30 minutes.


avra said...

Hi Ruth, I've bookmarked this recipe for future use...although it's not so much veggies I have a problem with. It's the meat my kids seem to shun...

Ruth Daniels said...

Being a carnivore, I find that hard to believe ;-). That said, my girls went through many a food rejection when they were young.

I do hope they enjoy this dish. And thanks for dropping by.