1 cauliflower, 100ml double cream or almond milk, 1 leek, 200g cheddar and gruyere, 2 cups macaroni, 1 tsp mustard, 1 leek, 1 tbsp butter.
Serves: 2 Preparation: 30 minutes
Mac and cheese and cauliflower cheese are both, individually, comfort foods of glory. In typical fashion for this greedy, cheese-obsessed foodie, I like to have my cake and eat it too, but this dish is surprisingly light and needn't be too cheese heavy, for those who may wish to cut down on their fat intake and it's a genius way of getting vegetables into children or adults who may be fussy about vegetables for reasons best known to themselves.
Cauliflower and almond are perfect partners, the nutty flavour of the almonds goes so beautifully with the cheese and by ramping up the savoury notes with leek and mustard, less cheese is necessary to achieve the desired results. Oh if you wish you can use double cream, but seriously - the almond milk gets a massive thumbs up from me here!
1) Prepare the cauliflower by removing the leaves and slicing the stem to the base. Slice around the stem to release the florets and add to a pan of boiling water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and yielding, but do take care not to overcook it or the taste will be impaired and let's face it - you're killing off the nutrients!
2) Slice the leek, add to a pan along with the butter and sizzle until soft. Transfer to a blender and pulse thoroughly, adding the almond milk, mustard and drained cauliflower bit by bit until a smooth puree is formed.
3) Simmer the macaroni for 6-8 minutes in boiling, salted water, then drain and return to the pan.
4) Pass the cauliflower, leek and almond mixture through a sieve and into the pan, adding half of the cheese (grated) to stir through the mixture.
5) Transfer to and ovenproof dish and top with the remaining grated cheese. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes at 200 degrees and then serve hot. I personally prefer a gooey cheese topping to a crispy golden one, and besides you don't want the gorgeous, unctuous macaroni to dry out, but this is of course a matter of taste. Should you be the sort of person who prefers a solid slab of pasta, then by all means cook it for longer! (I'm afraid I must judge you just a little though, especially if you also like mac and cheese pies... *rolls eyes*)