Ah this weekend I'd a little bit of Heston in my kitchen.
Heston. Heston. Heston.
Have you seen him cook on TV and the way he gets so excited about the food? I love that.
But I'm not gonna go all crazy fangirling on you now. This is a serious post on a serious subject - macaroni and cheese. Oh yes. Did you know there are even mac 'n' cheese forums? Honest.
So let's go back to the beginning.
Last week I was chatting with the lovely Sinéad from Bumbles Of Rice on Twitter (you can take a look at her real kitchen here) and the subject of Heston's new ready meals for Waitrose came up. As you do like. So 140 characters led to another 140 characters and then:
The challenge - reproduce his Cauliflower Truffle Macaroni Cheese and see which tasted better.
Yes cooking a chef's ready made meal is my idea of a good time.
The judge - one totally unbiased he's-not-getting-anymore-lunchboxes-if-he's-not-careful Mr. Moustache.
Thankfully there was no molecular gastronomy involved, not a snail or bacon ice-cream in sight.
First up: Cauliflower Truffle Macaroni Cheese by Heston:
We really liked it. £3.26 (approx €4.16). A crunchy breadcrumb topping and a sweet creamy sauce. 25 minutes in the oven and we were done. Well done Mr. Moustache. Although we would have liked more cauliflower. And it worked for breakfast. Please don't judge me. It was a busy day and we had to fit in tasting before I cooked my version...y'know how it is...
Next up. My version. Which turned into a giant pasta bake. And I didn't use truffle. I know. It's coming with my caviar order next week so I might just cook this again...
Cauliflower macaroni/pasta cheese
Preparation time 25 minutes
Cooking time 20 - 30 minutes
Purists may want to look away now: I used amori pasta instead of macaroni. Adding my own little touch. That and it was in the cupboard already.
200g macaroni pasta (you could also use amori or penne)
1/2 a head of cauliflower
40g plain flour
200ml single cream
100ml white wine (if not using add an extra 100ml milk)
200g grated mature cheddar, grated
50g grated parmesan, grated
2 tbsp mascarpone
Salt and pepper, for seasoning
2 tbsp breadcrumbs (from 1 slice of bread)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender (usually 8 - 10 minutes). Drain the pasta, then rinse in cold water. This helps to prevent it sticking together in the dish. Although some might say that's the sign of a real mac 'n' cheese.
3. While the pasta is cooking chop the cauliflower into bite sized florets then cook in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes until tender.
4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Make sure the saucepan is large enough to hold the cooked pasta and cauliflower for when you add it later. Add the flour and cook for another few minutes to form a roux.
5. Whisk in the milk, cream and wine a little at a time. Cook for 10 minutes until it has thickened into a smooth sauce.
6. Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the cheddar, mascarpone and half the parmesan. Stir until the cheese melts.
7. Add the pasta and cauliflower to the sauce and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Pour into a baking dish. Bake in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown on top.
And the verdict?
I'll leave it up to Mr. Moustache - 'Bien sûr, c'est toi chérie'.
Well now, I'm chuffed. What'll we have for lunch this week then Mr. M?
Like cheese? You might also like the Cheesebox Of The Week.