Our version of this comfort-food favorite includes two kinds of cheeses plus a surprise ingredient: cauliflower. Bread crumbs add an irresistible crunchy topping.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma
- 3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 8 ounces pancetta, julienned
- 1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch florets
- 3 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 3 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded fontina cheese
- 3 cups shredded Gouda cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 pound fresh macaroni, cooked unto al dente
- 1 Preheat an oven to 375ºF.
- 2 In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, melted butter, parsley, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 tsp. of the black pepper.
- 3 In a 4-quart pot over medium heat, cook the pancetta until crispy, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve the fat in the pot.
- 4 Working in batches, add the cauliflower to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes per batch, adding 1 to 3 tablespoons butter to the pot if needed. Transfer the cauliflower to a bowl.
- 5 Add 2 tablespoons water to the pot and stir to scrape up the browned bits. Add to the bowl with the cauliflower. Wash out the pot.
- 6 In the same pot over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
- 7 Whisk in the wine and milk and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- 8 Add the cheeses, the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, cayenne, nutmeg and cream and stir until melted.
- 9 Then stir in the pasta, pancetta and cauliflower. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.
- 10 Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the oven to broil and cook until the bread crumbs are crispy and brown, 4 to 5 minutes.