Every once and awhile I buy a cauliflower with the hopes that I'll do something new and exciting with it. It sits there....in the fridge.....looking sad and lonely. Usually I end up making a cheesy cauliflower casserole. It's actually delicious, but it's always the same. A few nights ago I peered in my fridge and decided to make supper using some of the lonely looking foods. The cauliflower. Some leftover chicken. The last bit of a half and half carton. The result was actually amazing! This makes a deceivingly rich sauce, and it's actually fairly healthy compared to the alternative full fat cream sauce.
My daughter's review: "It needs to have spaghetti". (No shock here, she doesn't ever like penne)
My son's review: "More." (We had to cut him off after his third bowl as we were pretty sure he was going to eat until he was sick!)
Penne Caulifredo (see what I did there?! I know, I'm lame...)
4 cups well cooked cauliflower
1/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup half and half (10%) cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
250g dried penne, prepared as per package directions
-Cook penne according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
-Place cauliflower in a medium sized stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer, covered, until it is very soft (about 15 minutes). Drain and rinse with cool water to bring the temperature down from hot to warm. Place in blender with the 2% milk, and puree until smooth.
-Chop onion. Saute in a large skillet with the olive oil until translucent. Add minced garlic and cook just until fragrant. Whisk in cauliflower mixture, half and half, salt, and pepper. Stir in chicken and allow to cook at a low simmer until slightly thickened and chicken is heated through. (This only took me about 2 minutes). Stir in pasta, parmesan, and fresh parsley.
*If you find the sauce too thick, you can thin out with more milk (to be healthier), OR additional half and half. The proportions worked just right for me, but you may have different preferences.