November 10, 2011

Baked Cauliflower Penne with a Black Pepper Cheese Sauce

Today I awoke with a craving for cauliflower, cheese, and raisin cookies, in no particular order. I debated whether or not to make aloo goobi, cauliflower soup, or plain old fried cauliflower in butter and salt, but I wanted something a bit more hardy and comforting. Mother nature has blessed us with a sprinkling of white fluffy powder on the ground, and to be quite honest, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I may have become spoiled living in Seattle, being able to drive to the snow and leave it as I please. This newly fallen snow will melt by the afternoon, this I am sure. I know it wont last long, but has undoubtedly given me a taste of whats to come. In order to get this taste of of my mouth, I thought it was imperative that I make a creamy, cheesy, crunchy, savory, peppery, hearty, baked pasta and cauliflower gratin. This dish can be prepared ahead of time and left in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. It is perhaps the most perfect comfort dish for chilly snowy day in November.


1 head cauliflower, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
3 cups dry penne pasta
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups warm milk
1 cup aged cheddar, shredded
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
cracked pepper, enough so that the sauce is speckled
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup bread crumbs


1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2. In a large pot, bring 6 cups of broth to a boil. Add the pasta and boil for 5minutes, then add the cauliflower and boil for 5 more minutes. Drain and set to the side.

3. While the cauliflower is boiling, melt 2 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the flour and stir. Continue heating for 1 minute.

4. Add the warm milk to the butter and flour mixture, and continue heating for 2 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened.

5. Add the cheddar, garlic powder, salt, and cracked pepper and whisk until the cheese has melted.

6. Pour a layer of cheese sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the pasta and cauliflower on top, and then top with the remaining cheese sauce.

7. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and grated parmesan on top, and then finish with melted butter.

8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.


  1. A scrumptious dish and lovely pictures!



  2. This looks amazing! Now, this is the way you make cauliflower!!
    Crazy that you already have snow!