Iconic Green Goddess meets all -time favorite comfort food Mac and Cheese. The result…KA-POW! All the things you love about Mac and Cheese. The ooey gooey melty cheese goodness, mixed with the flavorful herbs from the classic green goddess dressing (like tarragon & flat leaf parsley) all topped with crunchy Panko crumbs.
If that wasn’t good enough?..here’s the kicker. This version gets a healthy makeover by substituting a portion of the “mac” with some healthy cauliflower. (but don’t worry, it’s every bit as comforting as the classic). Want to cut back on carbs? feel free to increase the amount of cauliflower and reduce the pasta. Or, go straight up cauliflower for an even healthier option.
Start by cooking the pasta according to package directions.
Add the cauliflower to the pot with the pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking.
I rescued a basil and a cilantro plant a couple of weeks ago. You know that section at the Home Depot where they put all the plants that look pathetic and mark them down to next to nothing? Usually they are just sorely lacking water and need a little grooming, but because they look so pathetic they can’t be kept with the rest of the prettier plants. It’s like the land of misfit toys for plants. I’m a complete sucker for this section! I feel sorry for the plants and just want to bring them all home and give them a good watering, pick off the dead leaves and nurse them back to health. (who am I kidding it’s not what I “want” to do, it’s what I “do” do).
The point of my rescue story is that I wanted to use some of the now flourishing basil and cilantro, so I’ve made some substitutions to the classic green goddess dressing. The original version called for chives (as well as tarragon & flat leaf parsley which I’m still using) so if you want to go for the authentic version feel free to swap out the basil & cilantro. (I’d use 2 Tablespoons of chives as the substitute).
Finely chop the herbs and shallot.
Combine herbs with cheese.
Add the pasta and cauliflower.
Bake for 12-15 min. Top it all off with some toasted Panko crumbs. I also added the extra herbs I had left on the cutting board. Serve right away to maximize that melty cheese goodness. Yum! Yum! Yum!
- 8 oz. corkscrew pasta ( or penne, elbow or shells)
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 3 Tablespoons flat leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons tarragon, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon basil, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup Panko crumbs
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly oil a 9 inch baking dish (or spray with non-stick coating).
- In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Add cauliflower florets to the pot for the last 3 min. of cooking. Rinse and drain well.
- While the pasta is cooking, finely chop parsley, tarragon, cilantro, basil and shallot and add to a large mixing bowl. Add garlic, lime, Dijon mustard, sour cream, milk, cheeses and mix thoroughly. Add cooked pasta and cauliflower and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and additional milk if needed to reach desired consistency.
- Spread pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish and place in the oven. Cook until bubbly and browned, approx. 12-15 min.
- While pasta is cooking in oven, heat olive oil in a small fry pan over medium-high heat. Add Panko crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and toasted. (approx. 2-3 min.) Remove from pan and set aside.
- Remove pasta from oven and garnish with Panko crumbs. Serve immediately.