Q: What’s better than cauliflower cheese, mac’n’cheese and pretty much most other things?
A: Cauliflower mac and cheese rolled into one, topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and drizzled with truffle oil. IT’S MAC’N’CHEESE ON STEROIDS.
Yes, there is one of your 5-a-day snuck in here but I’m not going to lie to you lovely people – this is a dirty oozy comfort food treat that has no real place in a June post other than to reward those among us who didn’t buy an itsy bitsy bikini two sizes too small this year, hoping to be able to squeeze our dignity into it in just [insert ludicrously low number] short weeks thanks to our fabulous lifestyle change (read: cutting out food and booze…but actually not the booze because it’s sunny and that would just be miserable). So I’m guessing not many people then.
You could keep eating normally instead (including a great big gorgeous bowl of this) and then buy a bigger bikini. If you want to look smaller, just stand further away from the camera than your mates. You know this makes perfect sense.
Truffly cauliflower mac and cheese
Serves a very hungry 2 as a main, or 4 as a hearty side
– 200g macaroni
– 300g cauliflower (basically a whole small head), broken into florets
– 550ml semi-skimmed milk
– 40g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
– 40g plain flour
– 120g mature cheddar*, grated
– 80g Gruyère*, grated
– pinch ground nutmeg
– salt and pepper
– 75g breadcrumbs
– 2-3 tablespoons white truffle oil
*If you’re making a vegetarian version, check that the cheeses you use don’t contain animal rennet.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
In a large pan of salted boiling water (with enough room for the pasta and cauliflower combined), cook the macaroni according to instructions. Five minutes before the pasta is ready, add the cauliflower. Tip: As the pasta and cauliflower will continue to cook in the oven, at this stage you want the pasta just done (al dente) and the cauliflower with a fair bit of bite to it so you don’t end up with a congealed mess at the end!
Drain the pasta and cauliflower and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
In a pan on a medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Once you have a smooth paste, gradually whisk in the milk, bring to a gentle simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Tip: The sauce will continue to thicken in the oven so you want to keep it slightly on the runny side.
Stir in 120g of the cheese and a pinch of nutmeg (a little goes a long way!), and season to taste with a generous pinch of salt and a good few grinds of black pepper.
Once the cheese has melted, combine the pasta and cauliflower with the sauce in a large ovenproof dish. Top with the remaining cheese, followed by the breadcrumbs, and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Remove from the oven, drizzle with truffle oil and serve immediately.
Source: recipe and photos by pip & little blue.