I've seen 'bang bang' dishes in my Pinterest stream for awhile, and when I saw that this week's theme for Food Network was mac 'n cheese, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
First of all 'bang bang' dishes are all about the creamy, sweet & spicy sauce, and following the theory that cheese makes everything better, I figured mine would morph into a creamy, cheesy, spicy sauce.
Then cauliflower, the chicken of the vegetable world, came along for the ride to add a little texture. It works and plays well with so many flavors ranging from spicy to herbed. You can roast it, boil it, bread and fry it, and sauté it - it's all good. And it's one of the healthiest white foods around.
I also added cauliflower to this Indian inspired Curried Cauliflower Mac and Cheese dinner, and it added just the oomph in texture that I needed.
Feel free to use any type of pasta you want, but I recommend anything with texture, or little nooks and crannies, that this yummy sauce can nestle into.
Some Thai chili sauces are sweet and spicy, which I don't recommend for a mac 'n cheese (but is wonderful with the more traditional Bang Bang Shrimp dishes). Aim for one that emphasizes the spicy end of the flavor spectrum.
Another Mac 'n Cheese
For another non-traditional Mac 'n Cheese, check out this Impossible Pie where the pasta cooks in the casserole.
Bang Bang Cauliflower Mac 'n Cheese
- 1 ½ cups dried farfalle
- 3 cups cauliflower florets separate them so your florets are small
- 2 ½ tablespoon unsalted butter divided
- ¼ cup minced yellow onion
- 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup pasta water
- 2 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese I used Cabot
- salt and fresh pepper to taste
- Bang Bang Sauce below
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Bang Bang Sauce
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup Thai chili sauce
- Juice of ½ lime or more, to taste
- ½ teaspoon Sriracha optional
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F, and butter an 8" X 8" baking pan.
- Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than on the package directions in well salted water. It should be barely al dente. Remove the pasta to a large bowl and add the cauliflower to the boiling water. Cook until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain, retaining ½ cup of the pasta-cauliflower water, and add to the bowl of pasta.
- Melt 1 ½ tablespoon of the butter in a medium heavy pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook for 1 minute, continuing to whisk. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until thickened, about 2 - 3 minutes, and gradually whisk in the water. When it thickens again, whisk in the grated cheese, salt and pepper. Lower the temperature to low.
- Whisk together the Bang Bang Sauce and add to the cheese. Add 2 cups of the Bang Bang cheese sauce to the pasta and cauliflower and toss. Add more as desired. I used 2 ½ cups, but the recipe should make about 3 cups.
- Combine the Parmesan and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Melt the remaining butter, mix with Parmesan and breadcrumbs, and scatter over the casserole.
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly, and the top is lightly browned.
- Scatter a little chopped parsley over the top and serve immediately.
Yum - thank you
The Wimpy Vegetarian
You're so welcome!
Delicious Susan, I think I would be tempted to leave out the pasta entirely, Wonderful dish.
Michelle Stern (What's Cooking with Kids)
This sounds really wonderful! I like the contrast of textures with the crispy breadcrumbs on top...
I love everything about this! Perfect for Lent, too!
nicole @ I am a Honey Bee
I love bang bang shrimp and chicken. I'm sure I would love this!