This is a very unique dish. In fact, I wasn't even sure that I was going to make it. I bought all the ingredients and then kept putting it off. Finally, I decided to make it and I'm SO glad I did. You cannot even taste the cauliflower. I'm serious. My children raved about it and asked for more. Give this a try - what a great way to get two vegetables in for dinner.
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small head cauliflower, cored and chopped (3 cups)
- 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 4 medium shallots, roughly chopped
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups skim milk
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 6 ounces pecorino cheese, grated (2 cups)
- 1/2 pound medium multigrain pasta shells
- 1/4 pound sliced smoked ham, chopped
- 1 medium bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets (5 cups)
- 1/2 cup toasted whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), for serving (optional)
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cauliflower, garlic, shallots, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until softened but not brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with flour; stir to coat well.
- Gradually stir in milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; gently simmer until cauliflower is very soft, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer all to a blender, and puree with nutmeg and half the pecorino until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until slightly tender but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain well; return to pot. Add ham, broccoli, and cauliflower sauce; toss to combine. Transfer to a ovenproof 3 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining pecorino, and bake until bubbling in center, about 30 minutes. Heat broiler, and broil until golden brown on top, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Divide among dishes, top with breadcrumbs, and serve immediately.
I found this recipe here.