I have to say, I am Jamie Oliver’s biggest fan. Especially his 30 minute meals – yes I know they might not take 30 minutes for us mere mortals to produce, but if you tweak it here and there, the ideas are brilliant and easy to follow, and taste amazing. I would genuinely eat anything Jamie Oliver cooked for me. So I have to say my favourite meal, or the one I’ve made most often is his Cauliflower Macaroni Cheese. SO SIMPLE. SO DELICIOUS. I think the meal is meant to go with a salad? But I think it’s just fine by itself, and eventually does take only about 20 minutes. I highly recommend it.
I must also point out that it isn’t meant to be vegetarian, as it as pancetta in the breadcrumbs, but my brother is a veggie so I tend to make it without the pancetta and a bit of extra salt, and have never missed it. However, my boyfriend and his brother who I’ve been cooking for this week are diehard meat eating carnivores, and I can’t say I mind a bit of posh bacon – so included it this week and it was delicious! Definitely worth it.
I can’t go without saying how excited I am for his 15 minute meals – I will be there like a crazy woman watching every night.
Here’s the recipe for the Cauliflower Macaroni Cheese –
- 8 rashers of pancetta
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 500g dried macaroni
- Olive oil as required
- 250g mature Cheddar cheese
- 4 thick slices of bread
- large sprig of fresh rosemary
- 2 large clove of garlic
- 250g crème fraîche
- Salt & pepper
- Parmesan cheese, to serve
- Fill the kettle with water and bring to the boil. Preheat the oven on to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas 7.
- Lay the pancetta in the dish you will eventually be using for the pasta mixture and put on the top shelf of the oven to pre-cook.
- Trim off any very coarse or spoiled outer leaves from the cauliflower and remove the tough end of the stalk. Quarter the head or break it up into large pieces. Place in a large saucepan, stalks downwards and add the pasta.
- Pour over the boiling water to cover the ingredients, season, add a little olive oil and place on a high heat. Stir well until it reboils, and cook with the lid just askew.
- Grate the cheddar cheese in the food processor and tip into a bowl. Add the crème fraiche and crushed garlic.
- Remove the bacon from the oven. Using a food processer, process well with the bread and rosemary leaves. Add a good drizzle of olive oil to bind the ingredients into a coarse breadcrumb consistency.
- When the cauliflower and the pasta is just cooked (a knife inserted into the cauliflower stalk should slip in easily), reserving the cooking water, drain it all through a colander into a large bowl.
- Tip the pasta mixture into the dish the bacon was cooked in.
- Add about 400ml (just under a pint) of the reserved cooking water.
- Stir in the crème fraîche and cheese mixture, breaking the cauliflower up with a fork or potato masher until you have bite-sized pieces.
- Season. The sauce should be loose and if necessary, add another splash of the reserved cooking water.
- Spread the mixture out evenly in the dish and scatter over the breadcrumb topping.
- Cook on the top shelf of the oven for around 8-10 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the mixture bubbling.
- To serve grate over some Parmesan.