Saturday, 3 December 2011

Romanesco Cauliflower Macaroni Cheese

When I was a student, many of the students around me ate a lot of baked beans and toast and macaroni cheese either from a packet or a tin.  I have to hand on heart say, that macaroni cheese never featured ever on my student menu's, not even when I had friends over.  The reason simply was that I did not like the idea of cheesy overcooked pasta.  I also thought it was a bit boring and bland to eat.

Now I make variations of it all the time with blanched vegetables, foraged ingredients such as wild garlic, to macaroni cheese pies.  Today's variation was made with the Romanesco Cauliflower that I picked up from the farmers market last weekend.  Futhermore it is topped with a parsley breadcrumb mixture giving it additional crispness.

I am sharing this at Presto Pasta Nights (PPN).  PPN was founded by Ruth Daniels of Once Upon a Feast and each Friday night a different host posts a roundup of pasta dishes submitted by bloggers from around the world. This week PPN #243 is being hosted bys Jamie from Cookin with Moxie.

Romanesco Cauliflower Macaroni Cheese
Serves 4
200g dried macaroni or penne
300g Romanesco cauliflower, broken into florets
50g butter
50g plain flour
600ml milk
80g mature vegetarian Cheddar , grated
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 spring onions, finely sliced
80g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Fresh parsley, minced, plus extra sprigs, to garnish
2  tablespoons olive oil
Cook the pasta.  Drain and tip into a large bowl.
Boil some water then blanch the Romanesco cauliflower florets until tender. Drain and add it to the pasta.  
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6.
Melt the butter in a medium pan. Beat in the flour until a smooth paste. Remove from the heat and gradually beat in the milk until smooth. Return to the heat and bring to a simmer, stirring, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.  Stir the Cheddar except for 2 tablespoons and the mustard into the sauce and season well. Allow the cheese to melt into the mixture and then pour over the macaroni - cauliflower and fold in the spring onions. Spoon into a ovenproof dish.  
Mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley and remaining cheese. Sprinkle over the top and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden and crusty and the filling is bubbling.


  1. I wonder if we can get Romanesco cauliflowers over here? Is there a taste difference to the normal white heads?

  2. OH yum that looks and sounds great, just the kind of dish I feel like.

  3. This looks delicious! I wish I could have some now. I've never cooked with romanesco cauliflower before but I have seen it at the market. I must give this a try.

  4. Magnolia,
    Its only recently that I am seeing it here in Scotland, esp. at farmers markets. So I hope you can find some. I hope to grow some one-day, but I've not been good with ordinary cauliflowers, so it will be interesing.
    The flavour is completely different to the normal white heads, its hard to describe but i prefer it.

    Thanks you Mrs Bok.

    Thank you Baking Addict.
    I hope you get to try this recipe, if not I will also be posting a tart recipe soon.

  5. Hi Shaheen,

    Thanks for popping by my blog, lovely to 'meet you'.

    I've never heard of romanesco cauliflower before, the recipe looks delicious to have a ramble through your lovely foody blog. x

  6. Your version of macaroni cheese looks so much better than any of the others I have come across.
    Have only seen romanesco cauliflower once in the shops here.

  7. Thank you Lily for repaying the compliment and coming by. I hope you enjoy your visit.

    Thanks Cookie Jar.
    Its always hard to take pictures of macaroni cheese :) Appreciate you comment.

  8. Looked fab to me - we do get it here - and much better/easier to grow than a cauli - I find it easier, you might be the same - and I just love the taste.

    Great recipe! Thank you for the cabbage links on my blog I peeked over here as my first cabbage stop!

  9. Thanks Fay.
    I hope to try and grow some next year and hopefully succeed.

    Ihope you find some cabbage inspiration here :)

  10. veggie mac and cheese? Heck yes!

  11. Thanks Kristy.
    I'm a little embarassed at the picture of it, but it was v.good - even if I do say so myself.

  12. So much more appealing than soggy Mac n Cheese! Thanks for sharing your gorgeous dish with Presto Pata Nights.

  13. The lemonade butter lasts about a year. Well that's how long the bottles lasted.

  14. Thanks for letting me know Greenthumb.

    Thank you Jamie.


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