Here we have yet another recipe from Jamie Oliver's latest cook book Jamie's Food Revolution. Oliver's mac & cheese recipe calls for blending sour cream or creme fraîche with the cheese blend in a heat-proof bowl atop the boiling pot of macaroni and cauliflower -- essentially creating a double boiler. The resultant sauce is smooth, tangy a cinch to blend and incredibly easy to clean up after.
A few minutes under the broiler brings forth a savory top crunch, quite pleasing in combination with the added snap of blanched cauliflower. A small amount of reserved pasta cooking water keeps things moist under the broiler's high heat, and any leftovers are even more flavorful the next day.
Now i have had mac and cheese before and of course I've enjoyed cauliflower and cheese as well. But all three together? Who'd have 'thunk' of it?
Essentially this ia a recipe for macaroni and cheese that is far more healthy because of the hidden bits of cooked cauliflower - making this a perfect dish for kids who are prone to anti-vegetable tantrums. The smart child would spot a bit or broccoli a mile away, the cauliflower just blends in.
We big kids quite enjoyed this. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that Paul has eaten it 5 times in the past week (dinners, lunches, and snacks). This is unheard of from the boy who scrunches up his nose at the prospect of the same dish two days in a row.
Keep all the kids in your family happy and bake this up soon!
Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese Bake
1/2 head of cauliflower
8 ounces cheddar cheese
4 ounces parmesan cheese
a small bunch of Italian parsley, chopped
1 lb dried macaroni (elbows)
1 cup sour cream or creame fraiche
Remove the outer green leaves from the cauliflower and discard. Slice the end off the cauliflower stalk and cut the head into small florets. Halve the thick stalk lengthways, then slice thinly.
Grate the Cheddar and Parmesan into a large heatproof bowl.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and all your cauliflower and cook according to the macaroni package instructions.
Place the bowl of cheese over the saucepan and add the crème 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 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 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’s 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 broiler to make it crispy and golden on top. To do this, preheat your broiler to a medium to high heat. Add 2/3 cup of the reserved cooking water to the macaroni, stir in, then transfer to a baking dish. Place under the broiler until golden and bubbling.
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.