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Playing Mac 'n' Cheese with Parsnips and Roasted Cauliflower


  • 4 cloves garlic, halved
  • About 1/3 cup EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 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
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Fontina or Gruyre cheese
  • 1 pound ziti or Italian-style, straight-cut macaroni


Serves: 4-6




Heat oven to 400F.



In a small pot, combine garlic and oil, heat over low flame and gently cook until garlic is light golden in color and very fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Remove garlic cloves and reserve.



Pile cauliflower on baking sheet and dress with lemon juice, about 3-4 tablespoons of the garlic-infused oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread florets out in a single layer. Roast to brown at edges and tender, 20-25 minutes. Cover with Parmigiano-Reggiano and roast 5 minutes more. Turn oven off.



Meanwhile, boil parsnips in salted water to tender, 10-15 minutes. Pure in a food processor with the garlic cloves.



Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.



In a saucepot, combine remaining garlic oil and butter over medium heat. When butter foams, whisk in flour, cook 1 minute; add stock and milk, and thicken. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; combine sauce with parsnip pure and melt in cheese.



Cook pasta to al dente, drain pasta and toss with sauce. Arrange in a serving dish topped with crispy cauliflower florets on top.