Poaching the cauliflower in milk before baking it is a simple trick that makes this dish extra creamy.
- 1⅓ cups (240 g) macaroni (wholemeal optional)
- 1 small head cauliflower (600g), leaves trimmed, cut into small florets
- 2 cups (500 ml) milk
- ½ cup (60 g) finely grated cheddar
- ½ cup (40 g) finely grated parmesan
- sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
- a pinch ground or finely grated fresh nutmeg (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 8 minutes or until it’s almost soft.
- Place the cauliflower and milk in a large saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer (slow bubbles). Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer gently for 8–10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. Allow cooling slightly.
- Using a hand-held stick blender (watching for splashes!), blend until smooth.
- Place a colander in the sink and, wearing oven gloves, carefully pour in the pasta to drain. Add the drained pasta to the pan with the cauliflower, then sprinkle in half the cheddar and half the parmesan. Add salt, pepper and the nutmeg and stir to combine, using a spatula.
- Divide the cauliflower pasta between 4 x 1¼-cup-capacity (310ml) ovenproof dishes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses, place them on an oven tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the dishes to cool a little, before serving.