Because cheese isn't a big part of Indian cuisine, it may seem unusual to find an Indian-spiced dish in a book about macaroni and cheese. But East meets West beautifully here with the garam masala-spiced cauliflower, the two cheeses, and the easy-to-make tomato jam. Luckily the garam masala, a blend of spices, is easily found in grocery stores, and queso bianco or halloumi makes a fine substitute for paneer if necessary. If you don't want to make tomato jam, then use purchased tomato chutney or jam instead. Coarsely chopped and salted ripe tomatoes, drained of excess moisture, will also do.
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 8 ounces medium shell pasta
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 small onion, about 6 ounces, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide slices
- 2 1/2 cups bite-size cauliflower florets
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole or reduced-fat milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 12 ounces Havarti cheese, coarsely grated, about 4 cups
- 6 ounces paneer, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (or use queso bianco or halloumi)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 serrano or green Thai chile, seeded and minced (optional)
- 6 cups baby spinach leaves (about 5 ounces)
- Tomato Jam
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Fill a 4- to 5-quart pot about three-quarters full with water and add 1 tablespoon of the salt. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook, stirring once or twice, until tender but firm, 8 to 9 minutes, and drain. Reserve the pot.
In a medium bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of the butter, 2 teaspoons of the garam masala, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Add the onion and cauliflower and toss to coat. Transfer the vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned around the edges, about 20 minutes.
Using the same pot you used to cook the pasta, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and stir constantly until a paste forms, 30 to 45 seconds. Continue stirring for 1 to 2 minutes more, until the mixture starts to darken slightly and smells a bit nutty.
Slowly whisk in the milk, cream, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the mixture starts to thicken and is just beginning to bubble around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Add the Havarti, paneer, the remaining 1 teaspoon garam masala, the ginger, and cayenne. Continue to cook until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is smooth but not too runny. It should be similar in texture to cake batter. If it's soupy, continue cooking until it thickens.
Add the pasta, cauliflower mixture, and chile, if desired, and stir to combine. Add the spinach in large handfuls, stirring until each handful wilts a little before adding more.
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Source: Mac & Cheese, Please!: 50 Super Cheesy Recipes by Laura Werlin
Submitted By: B Smith
Indian-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower and Spinach Mac & Cheese