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Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower

This recipe originally appeared on the Rachael Ray Show. For more recipes and videos from the show visit


  • 1 pound whole wheat or semolina penne rigate
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and greens trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 12 ounces (3/4 pound) extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 rounded teaspoon dry mustard
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley


Bring a pot of water to a boil for the macaroni. Salt it liberally and cook pasta to just shy of al dente—about 7 minutes for whole wheat, about 6 for white pasta.

Place stock, garlic and onion in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Add whole head of cauliflower, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is very tender. Remove to a plate and strain the stock. 

In a deep skillet or large saucepot, melt butter over medium to medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, cook for a minute then stream in stock. Bring to a boil, add half-and-half and let sauce thicken; stir in cheddar cheese. Season sauce with mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. 

Preheat broiler to high and place a rack in the center. 

Separate cauliflower into small florets and toss with sauce and pasta,. Place in a baking dish and top with Parm. Place in oven and broil to brown, about 3-5 minutes. Garnish with chives and parsley, and serve.

Rachael Ray