Spicy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

This baked mac and cheese is loaded with roasted cauliflower, sautéed leeks and three creamy, flavorful Wisconsin cheeses: cheddar, fontina and butterkäse! It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!

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Servings: 6


  • 2 cups cauliflower, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  •   kosher salt
  •   black pepper
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 8 ounces pasta shells
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, or 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Wisconsin cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin butterkäse cheese, shredded


Heat oven to 400 °F.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange cauliflower in a single layer. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. In small bowl, mix together 1/2 teaspoon paprika, chipotle chile powder, garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle evenly over cauliflower; roast 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside.

In large sauté pan or Dutch oven, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and mustard powder, stirring continuously until blended and lump- free. Stir in heavy cream (or milk) and remaining 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes, until thickened.

Stir in 3/4 cup cheddar, 1 cup fontina and 1 cup butterkäse cheese. Add pasta, cauliflower and leeks, mixing well. Transfer to prepared 9x13-inch casserole dish.

Top evenly with remaining 3/4 cup cheddar; bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

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Semi-soft and semi-hard cheese, like Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella, should be very cold for easy grating.