When your kid loves yogurt, making it at home makes a lot of sense. When your kid loves Greek yogurt, straining it makes for a more or less inexhaustible supply of tangy whey; the yield is roughly 50/50 so our weekly gallon of yogurt makes a half of each. There’s always some stock around too, either in fridge or freezer, so between that and the whey I never want for rich liquids with or in which to cook dinner.
This float in the whey parade consisted of a straightforward mac and cheese, but with a meaningful upgrade in the form of roasted cauliflower. I took a whole head apart into smallish florets—about the size of the conchiglie they were to combine with—tossed them in oil, salt, and smoked paprika, and roasted them, shaking them a few times, until they attained a nice brownness. Roasting is good for this application, because the cauliflower stays firm for a long time in the oven. I had soaked the pasta for a few hours in the whey; I prefer to soak pasta destined for the oven so it’s only half soft when it goes in, like the cauliflower, and thus avoids getting completely soggy. I strained out the pasta and made a roux, stirring in enough whey to make a loose whéchamel (you want it loose because the uncooked pasta will soak up a fair amount of liquid) and then grated in a bunch of both cheddar and smoked gouda. Into this cheesy morass went both the pasta and cauliflower, as well as a little bit of the leftover sweet potato salad from the last post, followed by a layer of panko on top.
A couple of minutes under the broiler at the end imparted an appropriate toasting to the crumbs. Besides the essentially equal ratios of pasta and cauliflower, the light smoke from gouda and paprika alike added a complex warmth. Just what the doctor ordered on yet another shitty cold evening. But, as I mentioned already, at least it was still light outside. I’m digging the austerity of this late winter light, and have been messing around without a bounce card on the shadow side to let the chiaroscuro do the talking. The analemma is my food stylist.