Lighter Mac n Cheese with Cauliflower and Kale

cauli pasta.jpg

One would think there isn’t such a thing as lighter Mac n Cheese. I mean it wouldn’t be proper Mac n Cheese therefore it should be called something else. However, taking away half the pasta from the traditional recipe and replacing it with cauliflower does qualify as a lighter version. Taking away half the cheddar and replacing it with cottage cheese, well, that gives me the right to enjoy this dish without too much guilt.

I also got rid of the white sauce. I replaced it with a no-cook mixture of milk and sour cream. The only thing I didn’t mess with is the taste. This is a fantastic dish! It’s everything a Mac n Cheese should be. Cheesy, creamy, rich and comforting. And it’s got kale! So it’s healthy. So there. No guilt..

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 300grams «Mitsides» shrimp shaped pasta
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 cups kale, roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cheese mixture

  • 225 grams tub cottage cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • ¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup parmesan, grated
  • 1 Tbs olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 175 C fan. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and boil for 7-8 minutes until cooked but not mushy. Remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon into a bowl.

In the same water you cooked the cauliflower, cook the pasta 2 times less than the instructions on the packet. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

In a large skillet add the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt. Cook stirring occasionally until onion is soft and beginning to colour. Add the kale and cook until wilted.

Put the cooked pasta in a ceramic or glass ovenproof dish. Roughly chop the cauliflower into bite size pieces and add to the dish with the pasta. Mix briefly. Add the sautéed onions and kale. Season with salt and pepper and mix lightly to distribute everything.

In a medium bowl mix together all the ingredients for the cheese mixture. Add the cheese mixture to the dish with the pasta and mix.

In another bowl mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and olive oil. Mix well to distribute the olive oil. Scatter bread mixture all over the pasta.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until topping is crunchy and pasta is bubbly. Serve at once.

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