Cauliflower Mac N Cheese
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 leek or onion
- 1 stick celery
- 1/2 bulb fennel optional
- 1 small head cauliflower
- 2 cups dried pasta
- 1 Tbsp plain flour
- olive oil
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup mixed cheese such as cheddar, Parmesan, feta
- 1/2 cup stale bread
- 2 cloves garlic
- a few sprigs fresh herbs such as thyme or oregano optional
- Preheat oven to 350°. Put a large shallow ovenproof casserole pan on medium and heat with the butter.
- Peel, chop onion. Add to pan. stir regularly. Slice and add the celery, then chop and add fennel, if using.
- Break the cauliflower into florets, then cut into 1/2 inch slices and finely slice the stalk. Add to pan. Cook 10 minutes, until soft, stirring often.
- Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water. reserve a cup of cooking water, drain the pasta and pour into a 9x11" baking dish along with the cauliflower.
- Stir the flour into the veg pan for 30 seconds, then gradually pour in the milk, stirring all the time, followed by 2 cups water. Simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in mustard. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
- Let the sauce simmer to thicken. Coarsely grate the cheese.
- Stir the cheese into he sauce, then blend until smooth with a hand blender, or in batches in a food processor.
- pour over the pasta and cauliflower florets, ten, if you need to loosen it, add a little reserved pasta water-the sauce will thicken up as it bakes.
- Chop your stale bread into crumbs in the processor (or smash up in a clean towel). Peel and grate the garlic. Pick the herb leaves, if using, and mix it all together with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
- Scatter the crumbs over the pasta, grating more cheese if desired. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.