I chose a recipe based on simplicity and speed that would utilize her favourite ingredient. I also considered cost, quality and quantity (my prices are based on Canadian dollars).
Start to finish on the table eating it took 42 minutes (I may have lost some time when I sliced my thumb open with an inferior knife), I bought all of the ingredients but ended up halving the recipe.
Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese Bake
This is the full recipe as he wrote it. I halved the pasta, the Parm, and
- 1/2 a head of cauliflower ($2 for a whole one)
- 8 oz of Cheddar Cheese ($6.53 the good stuff)
- 4 oz of Parmesan Cheese (large block $16- about $2 worth)*
- small bunch of fresh Italian parsley ($1.99- about .50 worth)
- sea salt & fresh ground pepper
- 1 lb of dried macaroni pasta ($2.99 for organic 16 oz)
- 1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream ($3.39 for the local brand sour cream)
This goes fast so get some salted water on to boil, make sure you are using a large pot that will fit both pasta and cauliflower and a heat proof bowl on top.
Remove outer leaves of the cauliflower, halve it and break into small florets (save the other half for another recipe!). Slicing the stalk thinly if you want. Set aside
Grate Cheddar and Parmesan into the heat proof bowl. Finely chop parsley, stalks and leaves set aside.
Gather remaining ingredients.
Add macaroni and cauliflower to boiling water and cook as per package directions. Turn the heat down (trust me). Immediately put the heat proof bowl with the cheese over the macaroni and cauliflower. Be aware of the rising steam coming from under the bowl and stir to melt your cheese. If the water boils up over the pot turn the heat down slightly.
Stir in the sour cream, add the chopped parsley stalks and all. Season with salt and pepper.
You can now eat your Mac/Colflower (my family has an inability to say the word Cauli-Flower) & Cheese if you are starving. If you can wait 5-10 mins more, you can transfer to an oven proof dish and place under the broiler on high. Check every few minutes for a nice brown and crispy top. I used this extra time to make a simple salad, set the table and start on the dishes.
This was a very simple recipe to make and one that will provide left overs for a a few nights. Jamie says that his full recipe using 1 lb of pasta all the cheese and sour cream will feed 4-6. I used less and it still fed 4 people reasonably sized portions. Plus we have left overs.
*Jamie called for 4 ounces of parmesan cheese, I only used 2 oz and chose to use Padano instead as it is cheaper. (Tip) I keep both Parmesan Reggiana and Padano in my refrigerator, one for grating and the other for cooking. Padano is half the cost of reggiano but both go a long way.