Jamie Oliver’s Cauliflower Macaroni

3 11 2010

We’ve been following the new series by Jamie Oliver called Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals, currently been shown on Channel4 in the UK.  I highly recommend the series and I can’t wait for the delivery of his new book.

All that aside, the real question is – how easy is it to reproduce?
And are these “short cuts” comprimising the taste?

You can find the receipe on either Channel4.com/food or JamieOliver.com.

30 Minute Meals

  • 8 rashers of pancetta
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 500g dried macaroni
  • 250g mature Cheddar cheese
  • 4 thick slices of country bread
  • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 x 250g tub of crème fraîche
  • Parmesan cheese, to serve

To start: Get all your ingredients and equipment ready. Fill and boil the kettle. Turn the oven on to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7. Put the coarse grater attachment into the food processor.

Lay the pancetta in a roasting tray (approx. 30 x 25cm, or large enough to bake the pasta in) and put on the top shelf of the oven. Get rid of any tatty outer leaves from the cauliflower, then trim off the tough base of the stalk and quarter the head. Put in a large saucepan, core down, with the pasta, on a high heat. Cover with boiling water, filling and reboiling the kettle if necessary. Season with a good pinch of salt, drizzle over a little olive oil, then stir and cook according to packet instructions, with the lid askew.

Grate the Cheddar in the food processor and tip into a bowl. Fit the standard blade attachment, then get your pancetta out of the oven and blitz in the processor with the bread, rosemary leaves and a good drizzle of olive oil until you have a coarse breadcrumb consistency.

Put a colander over a large bowl to catch the pasta water, then drain the pasta and cauliflower. Tip into the roasting tray you cooked your pancetta in, and put over a low heat. Add 400ml (or just under a pint) of the reserved pasta water from the bowl. Crush in the 2 unpeeled cloves of garlic and mix in the crème fraîche and grated Cheddar, gently breaking up the cauliflower with tongs or a potato masher. Have a taste and correct the seasoning. It should be nice and loose; if not, add another splash of the pasta water.

Spread out evenly and scatter over the breadcrumbs. Put on the top shelf of the oven for about 8 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

To serve: When the cauliflower macaroni is golden and bubbling, take it to the table and shave over some Parmesan.

Verdict:
Easy to reproduce: Yes, with everyday household equipment.
Taste: Absolutely delicious.  I added tyme and parsley to my breadcrumbs mixture, and I thought I’d added too much rosemary initially – BUT OMG what a stunning meal.  Highly recommended!!!

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