Brace yourself for the most delicious Mac and Cheese you’ll ever try. This Mac and Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower and Smoked Bacon recipe is unbelievably yummy. Using 2 great melting cheeses, such as Gruyere and Fontina, combined with a lush béchamel sauce is the basis for the perfect mac ‘n cheese. The addition of roasted cauliflower and crispy applewood smoked bacon is insanely good.
Macaroni and cheese is quintessential comfort food. And these ingredients work together and just make every bite something truly spectacular. This is one recipe you’ll keep in rotation, for sure.
And we just love cauliflower and roasting the florets with a touch of good-quality olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper really brings out the almost buttery flavor of the veggie. Wesley and I love cauliflower prepared just about any way, but roasting it is probably our favorite.
This really makes a beautiful presentation, too. The toasted bread crumbs are the perfecting topping to this incredible dish. Set this on the table, and be prepared for a slew of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs.’ And then wait until folks dig in. This is seriously good macaroni and cheese!
Did we mention that we love roasting vegetables? Watch us roast another one of our favorite veggies: broccoli! And click for the full recipe for Roasted Broccoli with a Kick
Now, let’s make this amazing Mac and Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower and Smoked Bacon recipe!
- 1 baguette, crusts removed
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, each sliced in half
- 6 oz. Applewood smoked bacon, thick slice
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 4 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded
- 8 oz. dry elbow pasta, cooked according to package instructions
- MAKE THE BREAD CRUMB TOPPING:
- Pulse the bread in a food processor until uniform crumbs appear
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat
- Swirl the garlic, cut side down, in the melted butter, for about 1 minute, then remove and discard.
- Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until toasted and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and lightly season with salt. Set aside.
- ROAST THE CAULIFLOWER AND PREPARE THE BACON
- Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
- In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake until soft and beginning to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Lower oven temp to 350 F.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet and crisp.
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and then coarsely crumble when cool enough to handle. Set aside.
- MAKE THE BÉCHAMEL SAUCE:
- In a large sturdy pot (i.e., Dutch Oven), heat 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat.
- Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes.
- Carefully add in the milk and cream, whisking constantly to fully incorporate.
- Add the mustard, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Stir.
- One handful at a time, add the cheese, stirring to melt as you go.
- Gently fold in the cooked cauliflower and bacon.
- Stir in the cooked pasta.
- FINISH OFF THE MAC AND CHEESE:
- Pour the mixture into a 9"x13" dish.
- Top with bread crumbs.
- Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly.
- Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.