Warning: This recipe is not figure friendly and is perfect for a cold winter night! This pasta is rich and it is likely to put yourself in a cheese-induced coma!
I love the addition of chipotles in adobo to this dish, it adds a subtle smoky flavor and a spicy kick.
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 head cauliflower, chopped
5 sliced bacon, cooked and chopped (optional)
2 tbsp. chopped chipotles in adobo
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups 2% milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. dry mustard
1 lb. cavatappi pasta
1 lb. extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1 lb. Danish blue cheese, crumbled
½ cup green chopped green onions
Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Toss cauliflower in olive oil, S&P and roast for 25 minutes or until golden and tender While cauliflower is roasting, cook bacon on a wire rack for 20 minutes or until crispy. Remove bacon from oven and pat off grease with paper towel.
Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees
Melt butter and olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown and crunchy. Remove from heat and let cool.
Cook pasta in salted water until al dente, drain and set aside.
Melt butter in a large saucepan and whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, heavy cream and mustard until simmering, about 3 minutes.
Whisk in chipotles, blue cheese and ½ of cheddar cheese until cheese is melted and sauce is thick. Stir in pasta and remaining cheese. Toss in cauliflower, green onions, and bacon.
Pour pasta into a deep baking dish and top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.
This pasta can be made ahead of time (leave off breadcrumbs) and refrigerated two days prior to baking. It can also be frozen. Allow more time to bake.
I would also suggest baking them in individual servings!
Since this pasta is so rich, I would suggest serving it with a Sauvignon Blanc and a salad with arugula and a nice acidic vinaigrette. This will balance out the creaminess of the pasta