Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Macaroni Cauliflower Cheese Bake

By now you should know that I am a Jamie Oliver fan.
His recipes are just so easy to make and delicious.

This macaroni cauliflower cheese bake is from his Ministry of Food recipe book.

It is really simple and what I like most about it is that Heidi loves it too. What a great way to get her to eat some vegetables. Serve it with a big green salad and it should guarantee happy faces at the dinner table.

Here is Jamie's recipe, with my improvisations in brackets:

Serves 4 - 6

Half a head of cauliflower (I used the whole head of cauliflower)
200gr Cheddar Cheese (I didn't use cheddar, any slightly aged cheese will do)
100gr Parmesan Cheese
A bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley (I omitted the parsley)
Sea Salt
400gr dried macaroni (I used the whole packet i.e. 500 gr)
200gr creme fraiche

To prepare your pasta
Remove the outer green leaves from the cauliflower and discard. Slice the end off the cauliflower stalk. Cut the head into small florets. Halve the thick stalk length ways, then slice thickly. Grate the Cheddar and Parmesan into a large heatproof bowl. Finely chop the parsley stalks and leaves.

To cook your pasta
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the macaroni and all your cauliflower and cook according to the macaroni packet instructions. Place the bow of cheese over the saucepan and add the creme fraiche. Carefully stir every so often until the cheese is smooth and melted. If the water boils up beneath the bowl, just turn the heat down slightly. Add all the parsley to the melted cheese and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Carefully remove the bowl of cheese using a towel or oven gloves and put aside. Drain the macaroni in a colander over a bowl, reserving the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan, pour in the melted cheese and stir. It should have a lovely, silky consistency, but if it is too thick for you, add a splash of your cooking water to thin it out a bit. At this point you can either serve the macaroni as is, or finish it under the grill to make it crispy and golden on top. To do this, preheat your grill to a medium to high heat. Add a 150ml of the reserved cooking water to the macaroni, stir in, then transfer to a baking dish. Place under the grill until golden and bubbling.

To serve your pasta
Divide the pasta between plates or bowls, or place the baking dish in the middle of the table next to a nice green salad and let everyone help themselves (that's what we did!).

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