4-cheese mac & cheese

6
6
6
SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep
20 min
Cook
45 min
Serves
8
Difficulty
Easy
This cheesy, creamy version of the traditional, bread-crumb-topped macaroni and cheese casserole is unexpectedly light and can be enjoyed guilt free thanks to its clever use of carrots and cauliflower to lighten up the cheese sauce. Pureeing the cauliflower and carrots along with a mustard and cheese riddled broth makes for a velvety smooth sauce for the macaroni. The casserole bakes up beautifully and tastes every bit as delicious and cheesy as this well-loved and often craved American classic. Serve the bubbling pasta alongside a salad of baby spinach, sliced mushrooms and cherry tomatoes with a bright, cider vinegar-based vinaigrette and you've got a hearty full meal with leftovers to spare.

Ingredients

Cooking spray

1 spray(s)

Salted butter

1 tsp

Panko breadcrumbs

cup(s)

Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

2 Tbsp

Uncooked cauliflower

1 head(s), medium, (2 lbs)

Uncooked carrot(s)

4 medium, thinly sliced

Uncooked macaroni

½ pound(s)

Fat free reduced sodium vegetable broth

1 cup(s)

Neufchâtel cheese

¼ cup(s), (light cream cheese)

50% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

½ cup(s), shredded, shredded

Gruyère cheese

2 oz, (1/4 cup), shredded

Dijon mustard

1½ tsp

Table salt

1 tsp

Hot pepper sauce

¼ tsp

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray shallow 2½-quart baking dish with nonstick spray. (Or use 8 small gratin dishes and decrease baking time to about 15 minutes.)
  2. Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add panko and cook, stirring often, until toasted, about 4 minutes. Transfer to small bowl to cool. Stir in pecorino.
  3. Bring large saucepan of salted water to boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Cut 3 cups small florets from cauliflower and set aside. Cut remaining cauliflower (including stem) into 2-inch pieces.
  5. Add 2-inch cauliflower pieces and carrots to saucepan and cook until very tender, 10–12 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower and carrots to blender.
  6. Add macaroni to saucepan and cook half the time package directs, adding reserved cauliflower florets during last 1 minute of cooking time. Drain macaroni mixture and return to saucepan.
  7. Meanwhile, add broth, cream cheese, ¼ cup Cheddar, Gruyère, mustard, salt, and pepper sauce to blender with vegetables and puree. Add puree to macaroni mixture and stir to coat.
  8. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup Cheddar, then with panko mixture. Bake until top is golden brown, 25–30 minutes.
  9. Per serving (1 cup)