Mac-and-Cheese with Cauliflower and Creamy Red Pepper Sauce

By Rozanne Gold (from Eat Fresh Food:  Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs)

This is an unusual macaroni and cheese, studded with surprise nuggets of cauliflower. The gorgeous bright orange sauce is made from cooked red bell peppers and garlic that get pureed together until silky.  My daughter and her friends like making it because it looks like it’s oozing with cheese, but it has much less fat and is more nutritious than regular mac-and-cheese.  


  • 4 ounces extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, about 12 ounces
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 8 ounces ziti or penne rigate
  • 5 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives


  1. Shred the cheese on the large holes of a box grater and set aside.  Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds.  Cut into 1-inch pieces and put in a small saucepan with ½ cup water.  Cut the garlic in half, lengthwise, and add to the saucepan.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, and cover.  Cook 15 minutes or until the peppers are very soft.  Transfer the contents of the saucepan, including the water, to a food processor or blender.  Add the butter, honey, chile powder and salt to taste and process until very smooth.  Return to the saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cauliflower and cook 12 minutes or until tender.  Drain well and shake dry.  Transfer to a large bowl. Heat the sauce and pour over the pasta.  Add the cheese and stir well.  Add salt to taste and sprinkle with chives.   Serves 4 to 6.

For more healthy recipes: by Rozanne Gold
EAT FRESH FOOD:  Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs (Bloomsbury)
LOW-CARB 1-2-3:  The Low-Carb, Low Calorie Cookbook (Rodale)
HEALTHY 1-2-3:  The Ultimate Three-Ingredient Cookbook (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)  Jane Brody, New York Times, December 2009 "Eat Fresh Food"


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