Recipes, Tried & Tasted

Cauliflower Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Cauliflower Mac n Cheese | The Mother Cooker

Welcome to a new year of ‘Tried and Tasted Tuesday‘. If you are not familiar with this segment of the site, it’s a fortnightly recipe that I have made and tried from either a cook book, magazine or website. It has proven really popular and I hope you will love the recipes I have planned for January. First up is comfort food at it’s highest, macaroni cheese. With a hidden twist of added cauliflower, it’s a great way to get a vegetable in to fussy eaters. Topped with a crumb that has hidden depths, ready in thirty minutes and makes a batch big enough for leftovers. This recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals, find it here.

Prep time: 8 mins
Cook time: 22 mins
Serves: 4-6

  • 8 rashers of pancetta (I used prosciutto because I couldn’t find rashers of pancetta)
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 500g dried macaroni
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 250g créme fraiche
  • 250g mature cheddar cheese
  • 4 thick slices of country bread ( I used half a baguette)
  • Few sprigs of rosemary

You could easily make this vegetarian by removing the meat element and adding a chopped smokey chilli to your crumb instead.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200fan/220c/425f/gas mark 7, fill and boil the kettle, put the coarse grater attachment in the food processor. Or grate the cheese by hand and set aside in a bowl.
  2. Place the rashers of pancetta in a large roasting tray, at least 25x30cm. And place on the top shelf of the oven.
  3. Remove outer leaves of cauliflower, trim the base and quarter. Add in to a pan with the macaroni and cover with boiling water. Cook to packet instructions (around 12-14 minutes usually).
  4. If using a food processor, grate your cheese and set aside in a bowl. Then put your regular blade back in and add bread, take pancetta out of the oven and add this too, with a little olive oil. Blitz until you have rough breadcrumbs.
  5. Drain your pasta and cauliflower, reserving 400ml of pasta water.
  6. Tip pasta and cauliflower in to backing tray you cooked pancetta in, break up the cauliflower gently, add 2 crushed but still in the skin cloves of garlic, the reserved water, then stir in your créme fraiche and cheese. The sauce should be quite lose.
  7. Top with your crumb mixture and a few sprigs of rosemary and bake for 8 minutes.