- 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into chunky florets (SEE NOTE)
- Olive oil
- Flaky kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon salted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese (optional)
- 4 ounces mild cheddar, divided, shredded by hand
- 2 ounces colby jack or sharp cheddar cheese, shedded by hand
- 2 ounces whole milk mozzarella, shredded by hand
- 1/4 cup pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano, grated by hand (SEE NOTE)
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
- Place the cauliflower pieces on a large baking sheet, and toss with enough olive oil to thinly coat each piece. Start with about 2 tablespoons, and if some pieces are still dry after tossing, add a little more olive oil. Sprinkle a generous amount of flaky kosher salt on the cauliflower pieces then arrange them into a flat layer. Place the cauliflower in the oven on the lower middle rack and roast for 18-20 minutes or until the bottoms of the cauliflower are golden brown. Let the cauliflower cool completely.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 435 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. When it starts to sizzle, add the minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Pour in the heavy cream. Add a big pinch of flaky kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, smoked paprika, grated nutmeg, rosemary, and thyme. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until the mixture starts to simmer and the cream has reduced and thickened. Keep an eye on it because it will and can bubble over if you’re not careful. You may have to adjust the heat during this process. After 8 to 10 minutes when the cream mixture has reduced enough to become visibly thicker, larger bubbles breaking the surface, add the cream cheese if using. Stir to combine.
- Turn off the heat and add the pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano cheese. Stir to combine, then add half of the mild cheddar, and all of the colby jack or sharp cheddar cheese.
- Place all of the roasted cauliflower into a medium-sized bowl, and toss in the remaining half of mild cheddar, and 2 ounces of whole milk mozzarella. When the mixture is evenly combined, pour in half of the cheese sauce and gently fold to saturate. If you feel the mixture is too dry, add a little more cheese sauce. You don’t want to pour it all in because cauliflower heads vary in size and weight, and just in case you have too little cauliflower and far too much sauce (you can save whatever sauce is left in the fridge for another day), you don’t want it swimming in sauce. The feel you’re going for is moist and almost pasty, so add just enough cheese sauce until it’s at that point. Remember, this sauce will loosen as it bakes, so if you add too much you’ll have very runny cauliMac&cheese.
- Pour the cheesy cauliflower mixture into a small baking dish, and bake on the middle rack of your oven until bubbly, which should take between 15-20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating.
Your cauliflower head should be at least 2 1/5 pounds, give or take a few ounces.
Make sure the pecorino or parimigiano cheese you grate is loosely packed into the measuring cup. If you’re using the grated kind that looks like tiny pebbles, use just 2 tablespoons.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: keto, low carb
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: keto mac and cheese, cauliflower mac and cheese