3 cups cavatappi pasta
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup half and half, or more, as needed
2 oz cream cheese
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or mix of cheeses)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Within the last 3 minutes of cooking time, add cauliflower; drain well.
- Melt butter in a 9-inch oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in half and half, and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in cream cheese, Dijon and garlic powder until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in 1 cup cheese until melted, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more half and half as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Stir in pasta and cauliflower; gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
- Sprinkle with cooked bacon pieces, if desired.
- Place into oven and bake until bubbly, about 12-15 minutes.
- Serve immediately, garnished with chives, if desired.