Things I have been cooking lately #138: Cauliflower mac ‘n cheese

The last few days have been absolutely freezing in London. I don’t know about you but for me when I am cold all I want is comfort food. This recipe comes from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals and it’s one of my favourite things to eat when I need a bit of a warm, stodgy cheer-up. In the original recipe it comes with all kinds of side things but I find it to be just as delicious all on its own (and a lot more manageable to knock out in 30 minutes!).


Cauliflower mac ‘n cheese

Adapted from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals

8 rashers of smoked pancetta
500g macaroni
1 medium head of cauliflower, large leaves trimmed off
4 slices of rustic country bread
Olive oil
A few sprigs of rosemary
300ml creme fraiche
250g mature cheddar cheese, grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Turn your oven to 200 degrees and fill and boil your kettle. Put the rashers of bacon in a large baking dish big enough to hold all the pasta. Put the dish in the top of the oven.

Quarter the cauliflower and put it at the bottom of a large saucepan with a lid. Add the macaroni and cover with boiling water. Add a lug of olive oil and some salt. Put the lid on and bring to the boil. Cook according to the macaroni package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, tear up the bread and put it in your food processor or blender with the blade attachment. Add a good lug of olive oil, the picked leaves from the rosemary and the pancetta from the baking dish which should be cooked by now. Process until you have a fine crumb consistency.

Drain the pasta and cauliflower over a large bowl and reserve the pasta water. Pour the drained pasta and cauliflower into the baking dish you used for the bacon and place on the stove top over a medium heat, add just short of 400ml of the reserved pasta water, the creme fraiche, the cheese and the garlic. Break down the cauliflower a bit with a potato masher and then stir everything together until the cheese has melted in. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Top the pasta with the bread crumb topping and then pop the baking dish back into the oven for 8 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Serves 6 – 8



  1. jmount43

    Ah, ye lovely redheaded wonder girl; ye had me at Mac n Cheese and sadly ye lost me at cauliflower.

    1. abbiosbiston

      You can barely taste the cauliflower and it’s so good for you… you should try it!

      1. jmount43

        Alright, I might; but only because it is at your recommendation. I’ve been doing most of the cooking at my house lately. I’m still learning but it helps me to be calm. Last night I made chicken half-breasts with mandarin-ginger glaze on them. It was my first attempt and I shouldn’t have put the glaze on as early as I did but it still came out okay and most importantly it was tender and juicy.

  2. Mmm. This looks damn yummy! 🙂 Ick – I hate this cold. All I want to do is eat when cold too! 😦

    1. abbiosbiston

      I have definitely been warming my soul and my belly with food this week!

  3. Hmmmm, this looks delicious and pretty easy, too! I might try it out at some stage!

    1. abbiosbiston

      It is super easy compared to normal mac ‘n cheese because you don’t have to make a white sauce which is always a pain!

  4. mac n cheese, love cauliflower – never, ever thought about throwing them in together! xxx

    1. abbiosbiston

      Somehow they really work well together and it makes the mac ‘n cheese feel just a little less sinful!

  5. It is cold for sure. I’ve had my first two hot chocolates of the year in the past week.

    1. abbiosbiston

      We are going to Salzburg this weekend and I am planning to seriously load up on the hot chocolate!

  6. I wasn’t expecting actual macaroni in this recipe! Maybe I could get Ian to eat it.

    1. abbiosbiston

      The cauliflower is just a bit of extra and it’s well disguised. I think it would be a great way to sneak in some veg if he doesn’t like it.

  7. theipc

    cauliflower is the devil’s balls….

    1. abbiosbiston

      I always imagined them more red and veiny.

  8. That looks very delicious. It’s been kind of warm here actually, so I haven’t had time to enjoy my usual cold-weather comfort food like chili.

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