Roasted Cauliflower with Whole Wheat Penne

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Weekend cooking means easy do ahead dishes like this delicious roasted cauliflower and whole wheat penne casserole. Even if you are not a cauliflower fan, you will be if you roast it first. Several things will happen to amaze you. One, there will be no sulfur smell to linger in your kitchen for days, two roasting will caramelize the sugars in the cauliflower, making it sweeter tasting and three, you will find yourself making this over and over again. An inexpensive dish to comfort you in the dark dog days of winter.

Roasted Cauliflower with Whole Wheat Penne

Serves 6

1 medium head cauliflower, separated into ½ inch piece florets

2 tablespoons  Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound whole wheat penne

½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter

1 large leek, white part only, sliced into thin rounds

2 1/2 tablespoons flour

1 ½ cups low fat milk

1 cup fat-free Half/Half

1/3 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley

2 cups grated mozzarella or Swiss cheese

In a large bowl toss the florets in the oil, salt and pepper

Transfer the florets to a non-stick baking sheet and roast until tender and lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Set aside.

Cook the penne in four quarts of rapidly boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside.

In same pasta pot, melt the butter and cook the leeks until softened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the flour over the leeks and cook about 1 minute; do not let mixture brown. Combine the milk, Half/Half and buttermilk and slowly whisk into the butter mixture. Cook over medium heat just until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the parsley and half the cheese and stir until smooth. Add the nutmeg. Add the cauliflower and combine well with the sauce. Add the penne and combine well.

Transfer mixture to a 9 x 12 casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the top is crusty brown.

More great recipes at www.ciaoitalia.com and in my latest book Ciao Italia Family Classics.

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