Macaroni cheese is one of the best forms of comfort food invented. It was the absolute favourite thing my mum cooked for us as kids – especially when she topped it with bacon!
I found a fab little version of it in one of my Jamie Oliver books this week, and decided to put it to the test.
There are so many ways to make a cheese sauce, but this one i’d not tried before.
You gently heat a bowl of grated cheddar, Parmesan and creme fraiche over a pan of boiling water until you get the most divine and silky cheese sauce. Stir in a wodge of chopped parsley and a little seasoning before combining it with the cooked macaroni and cauliflower – and there you have it.
You can then go ahead and bake it, but it was so perfect looking I didn’t dare mess with the consistency of the sauce. Also Sam’s a bit funny about the crust that forms on the top of pasta bakes.
So we just tucked in and in and in… seconds were had by all!
Matthew’s normally not keen on cauliflower but the sauce transformed the often unloved vegetable into a taste sensation. Sam positively inhaled the dish and even complemented my cooking. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!
Quick, cheap and tasty – tick, tick and tick!
So here’s the recipe:
Macaroni cauliflower cheese bake – Jamie Oliver
1/2 medium cauliflower
200 g cheddar cheese
100 g parmesan cheese
1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
1 pinch to taste sea salt
400 g macaroni, uncooked
200 g creme fraiche
1: 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 lengthways then slice thinly.
2: Grate the cheddar cheese and parmesan into a large heatproof bowl. Finely chop the parsley stalks and leaves.
3: Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the macaroni and all of your cauliflower and cook according to the macaroni packet instructions.
4: Place the bowl of cheese over the saucepan (I used a separate panwith water in not the pasta/cauliflower pan) and add the creme fraiche. Carefully stir every so often until the cheese is smooth and melted. Add all the chopped 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 set aside.
5: 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’s too thick, add a splash of your cooking water to thin it out a bit.
6: At this point you can either serve the macaroni as it is, or finish it under the grill to make it crispy and golden on top. To do this, preheat your grill to medium heat. Add 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.