Cauliflower mac and cheese

Posted on June 17, 2014

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When it’s wet and cold outside, don’t you just want to dig into a bowl of something warm and comforting? For me, this comes in the form of gooey mac and cheese. Creamy moreish goodness to satisfy the child in you.

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This version includes a couple of spices to add a bit of warmth and extra flavour to the sauce. I also added in my new found love, cauliflower just to introduce some nutritional content in this otherwise carbohydrate and fat centric dish. Cauliflower goes very well with cheese and for those of you who are looking for ways to hide vegetables in dishes, it’s also in the same colour family so people won’t suspect a thing ;). Win win. And aside from those little departures, the following recipe is quite a basic one, not too dissimilar from the more conventional varieties. Hope you enjoy this slightly healthier version.

RECIPE – Cauliflower mac and cheese (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into individual florets
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • oil for cooking
  • 250g elbow pasta
  • 200g grated tasty cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 2 1/2 cups (625mL) milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon mild paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Cook elbow pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions. (I would suggest under cooking this slightly as the pasta is going to cook further in the oven.)
  3. In a medium fry pan, heat a small amount of oil (~1 teaspoon) and 1 tablespoon butter until bubbling. Add cauliflower florets and toss to brown slightly. Remove from heat and reserve.IMG_8843
  4. To make the roux (thickening agent), heat 2 1/2 tablespoons each of butter and flour in a medium pot. Whisk to combine.
  5. Once the roux becomes a uniform paste, whisk in 1/2 cup of milk. Add in remaining milk, cinnamon, paprika and seasoning. Mix well to combine and ensure there are no lumps then remove from heat.
  6. Mix cooked pasta, cauliflower florets and ~150g of grated cheese into the sauce. Pour mixture into baking tray. Sprinkle remaining 50g grated cheese and breadcrumbs on top then place into hot oven.IMG_8846
  7. Bake for ~25 minutes or until top is golden.
  8. Serve immediately.IMG_8854IMG_8855

Couch, dvd, and a bowl of mac and cheese. As Jamie Oliver would say: happy times!

 

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