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Mac ‘n Cheese with Parsnips and Roasted Cauliflower

Serves 4-6


Go white on white with these veggies, pasta and a cheese creamy sauce. Use vegetable stock for a vegetarian-friendly meal!


  • 4 cloves garlic, halved
  • About 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Fontina cheese or Gruyère cheese
  • 1 pound regular or whole wheat ziti or Italian-style, straight-cut macaroni


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a small pot, combine the garlic and EVOO; heat over a low flame and gently cook until the garlic is light golden in color and very fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves and reserve.
  3. Pile the cauliflower on a baking sheet and dress with the lemon juice, about 3-4 tablespoons of the garlic-infused oil and the thyme, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread the florets out in a single layer. Roast to brown at the edges and until tender, 20-25 minutes. Cover with the Parmigiano Reggiano and roast for 5 minutes more. Turn the oven off.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the parsnips in salted water to tender, 10-15 minutes. Puree in a food processor with the garlic cloves.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  6. In a saucepot, combine the remaining garlic oil and butter over medium heat. When the butter foams, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute; add the stock and milk and thicken. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; combine the sauce with the parsnip puree and melt in the cheese.
  7. Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Arrange in a serving dish topped with crispy cauliflower florets on top.