No Mac & Cheese

  • Oh, comfort food: Macaroni and cheese, fresh out of the oven that's brown and bubbly along the edges with a crispy crumb topping. It's delicious, but (insert dietary excuse here). It's OK! This is columnist Don Mauer's No Mac and Cheese and, with a couple of easy ingredient swaps, you get a tasty, low-carb version that's still just as comforting.

    Oh, comfort food: Macaroni and cheese, fresh out of the oven that's brown and bubbly along the edges with a crispy crumb topping. It's delicious, but (insert dietary excuse here). It's OK! This is columnist Don Mauer's No Mac and Cheese and, with a couple of easy ingredient swaps, you get a tasty, low-carb version that's still just as comforting. Courtesy of Don Mauer

 
 
Posted1/22/2020 6:00 AM

• Topping

2½ ounces baked pork rinds, crushed

 

¼ cup (1-ounce) fresh-grated Parmesan

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

• Cauliflower

Soft, unsalted butter, for baking dish

2 large heads cauliflower (about 2 pounds each), cut into florets and stem cut into floret-size pieces

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

• Cheese sauce

1 cup organic heavy whipping cream

2 slices (1½ ounces) American processed cheese

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mild cheddar cheese

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons dried parsley

Fresh ground black pepper

Sweet paprika

Place the oven rack in the center position and begin heating the oven to 375 degrees. Using a small amount of butter, lightly coat the interior bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Set aside.

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Make the topping: Add the crushed pork rinds, Parmesan cheese and olive oil to a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Set aside.

Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the salt to a large mixing bowl. Add the cauliflower florets and stem pieces and toss until coated. Spread the cauliflower onto two large baking sheets and roast until tender and lightly golden, about 30 minutes. While the cauliflower roasts, place a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the whipping cream. Heat, while stirring frequently, until small bubbles begin appearing around the edge. Lower the heat and begin stirring in the grated cheeses and cheese slices. Remove from heat and stir in the dried parsley. (If too thick, stir-in a couple tablespoons of whole milk).

Transfer the roasted cauliflower to the prepared baking dish, distributing it evenly to the edges. Evenly pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower. Sprinkle the pork mixture in an even layer over cauliflower and dust with the paprika.

Bake until golden, 20 minutes (it should be bubbling around the edge). Serves 12.

Don Mauer

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