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Cauliflower mac & cheese with bacon

Cauliflower mac & cheese with bacon recipe

Ingredients

Mac and cheese:

500gms short pasta of your choice like macaroni or fusilli

1 large head of cauliflower (approx 750 – 800gms), broken into florets and the stems chopped

1 cup vegetable stock

500600 ml milk (enough to cover the cauliflower and add more if necessary)

2 bay leaves

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

125gms streaky bacon, cut into small pieces

2 cups of grated strong hard cheese such as mature Cheddar plus an extra ¼ – ½ cup for the topping

Crumb topping:

¾ cup of fresh white breadcrumbs or panko

4 Tbsp olive oil

Salt & pepper

Zest of half a lemon

¼ cup grated Parmesan

Instructions

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions and drain and set aside.

In a large pot add the cauliflower stock, milk, bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper ensuring the liquid covers the cauliflower. It doesn’t matter if you go a little over the quantity here. This is very forgiving. Bring this to a gentle boil and cook over low heat for about 25 – 30 minutes.

While that is cooking, fry the bacon until crispy and then set aside. Add this to the pasta when it has finished cooking to separate the noodles.

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F.

Once the cauliflower is fall-apart soft, remove the bay leaves and process until smooth using a stick blender. Alternatively, allow to cool slightly and blend in a food processor or liquidizer. When smooth return the mix to the heat and warm it up. Add the 2 cups of cheese and nutmeg and stir until dissolved. Check seasoning adding more salt & pepper if necessary and if it is very thick, add a little extra milk.

Make the crumb topping by tossing all the ingredients together in a bowl until well mixed.

In a large ovenproof dish, add the pasta, bacon, cauliflower & cheese sauce and mix well. Sprinkle over additional cheese and as much as you desire. Then spread the crumb topping over the surface and bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.

Keywords: Caulliflower, mac and cheese, bacon, recipe