Riccioli in a Four Cheese Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, especially when it is a stir fry that my mom makes. So simple, yet so tasty. But my son doesn’t like cauliflower. He loves broccoli, but refuses to even touch cauliflower. I know! How is that even remotely possible, right?

If you are like DH – you’d be like – ‘Why don’t you just give him what he likes!’. Uh Huh, I think there is this inherent urge as a mother – that I am hellbent on feeding him something he doesnt like, if it is good for him. There is a sense of vicotry, err.. um..satisfaction in having done that. So, it was mission: ‘Conceal Cauliflower’ that yielded this dish. The whole irony of it is that Mr.Terrible Twos was in one of his moods and refused to even try this. But, DH on the other hand, loved it and ate every bit of it. I loved it too..despite the frustration that my son refused to eat it. Yep, this dish is something that comforts you from the inside out, no matter what the situation. 🙂

Ingredients:
1 lb Riccioli pasta(or any other shape pasta)
2 cups cauliflower florets, chopped
2 1/2 cups 1 % milk
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion sliced thin
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 – 1 cup of frozen peas(I just threw in a few fistfuls)
salt, pepper to taste

Method:
Boil the pasta in plenty of salted water until cooked, but al dente. Whhile the pasta cooks you can start making the sauce.
Place the chopped cauliflower, garlic in a microwave safe bowl and cover with the milk. Place it in the microwave and cook for 3-4 minutes. Take care or the milk might overflow. When you see the milk become hot and bubbles forming, remove the bowl. Cover and set aside for atleast 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and saute in the butter until soft. Add the whole wheat flour and coat the onions in the flour. Let the flour absorb the butter and become slightly dark. Check the cauliflower. It should be cooked by sitting in the warm milk. Place the warm milk along with the softened cauliflower and garlic in a blender along with the ricotta cheese. I choose to add the ricotta here, coss it tends to have a grainy texture. You can leave it out, if you like that texture. Puree the cauliflower, garlic and ricotta in the milk. Add this mixture into the butter, flour onion mixture and mix to combine. Let this thicken up and cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the shredded mozzarella, pepper jack and 2 tbsp of the parmesan. Let the cheese melt in the sauce. Throw in the frozen peas if using and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the cooked pasta into the sacue and mix to coat the pasta in the sauce. Remove to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the reserved Parmesan.

Verdict: Creamy, cheesy and comforting goodness. Now to have known it has a vegetable makes you feel your are eating something healthy, and makes you feel less guilty. Perfect for a weeknight supper or as a lunch box dish.

Sending this to ‘Veggie/Fruit of the Month – Cauliflower’, series by Priya Mitharwal.
Also to ‘Kids Delight – Party Event’

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