The pasta casserole was hearty so meat eaters won't miss the meat! Each serving is about 1 1/2 cups with 375 calories and 22g protein. We ate this for dinner and I preportioned the remaining 4 servings for the fridge so we can grab and go later in the week. It's a great way to avoid takeout or frozen meals on those busy nights!
Cauliflower, Spinach, Cheese and Pasta Casserole (6 servings)
- 8 cups water
- 6 cups cauliflowerets (1 1/2 lbs) cut in small pieces
- 8 ounces uncooked small shell pasta
- 3 cups lowfat milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 head spinach, cleaned and chopped
- 1 cups finely chopped onions
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed and divided
- 1 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cups grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (or smoked mozzerella)
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3/4 teaspoon thyme (or 3 tsp chopped fresh thyme)
- 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon style mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan; add cauliflower and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling water, and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Remove cauliflower with a slotted spoon, reserving cooking liquid; set cauliflower aside. Bring cooking liquid to a rolling boil. Add pasta, and cook 7 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.
- In a preheated large sauce pan, drizzle a bit of olive oil. Add chopped onions and 1 clove minced garlic. Cook 2 minutes on medium heat. Add fresh spinach and season with salt and pepper. Cook until wilted. Remove spinach-onion mixture and set aside in a bowl. Use this saucepan to make the sauce.
- Melt butter in saucepan. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour to melted butter and stir with whisk for 1 minute, then add milk to saucepan, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in thyme and remaining garlic; cook over medium heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, cheeses, nutmeg, mustard, and pepper. Combine cauliflower, spinach, pasta, and cheese sauce in a large bowl. Spoon the cauliflower mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Spinkle bread crumbs on casserole evenly over cauliflower mixture.
- Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Add freshly chopped parsley when it is out of the oven.