The kids and I quite enjoy watching Chef Jamie Oliver create dishes like this cauliflower Mac n cheese – meals that are so simple, accessible to kids, and yet nutritious and delicious.
And after watching him make it, we decided we could also make it.
Unfortunately I did not get any pics of us actually in the process of making the dish – I only have images of the finished dish – which is not the prettiest dish once it is served.
I had a package of cheese tortellini in the fridge and a small cauliflower so all we needed to buy from our local green grocer was a leek and a few stalks of celery. So we did.
I sliced the leek and celery into thin slices and got them into a deep pan with a “knob of buttah” as Jamie Oliver says.
And then the interesting part – I cut all the lower leaves off the cauliflower and sliced them into thin pieces as well. Into the pan with them!
Normally I put them all into the compost bin but as Oliver said, why bin them? Sliced and sautéed – they made a perfect addition to the dish!
While that was coming up to heat my daughters and I broke the head of cauliflower into small florets and then arranged them into two oven-safe casserole dishes. Note – make sure the florets are quite small seeing as they are not pre-cooked before they get baked.
Once the greens were softened – not browned – I added a heaping tablespoon of flour and stirred that in to absorb the melted butter.
Next I added 500 mL of milk and then 500 mL of water. We kept stirring to keep the milk from burning onto the bottom of the pan.
Stirred and let cook for about 5 minutes and before we ladled the sauce – greens and all into the Vitamix. 30 seconds on high speed blend.
I didn’t mention that while the sauce was cooking I also had the tortellini cooking so it was ready to be added to the casserole dishes.
We dumped the cooked tortellini into the casserole dishes with the cauliflower florets, gave it a rough stir to mix it together, and then poured the blended sauce over the noodles and cauliflower.
When pouring the sauce over the noodles and cauliflower it may look like a really wet and sloppy dish but rest assured, after it is baked for 30 minutes, it’ll set up quite nicely.
Of course before baking we grated a block of cheddar and a piece of blue cheese we had in the fridge and arranged that over the top of the noodles and cauliflower. After all, it is mac AND cheese!
A generous shake of bread crumbs on top and then into the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.
Once it was out of the oven the kids could barely wait to try it. It never fails to amaze me how if the kids help make the meal they are much more likely to eat it.
From start to finish the cauliflower mac n cheese was on the table was about 45 minutes. We will definitely be making this again!