Spicy cauliflower, bacon macaroni cheese gratin

Regular readers will have seen the delicious cauliflower cheese pie recipe I posted a few weeks ago. This borrows the method of roasting the cauliflower and bacon with curry powder from that recipe before adding the macaroni cheese and then adding a crispy gratin crust. It’s a really delicious twist on a classic macaroni cheese that can be served by itself or with a salad or wilted cauliflower greens on the side. Although there are essentially four steps to making the final dish (roast the cauliflower, make the cheese sauce, cook the pasta and then combine them altogether), if you get all your ingredients assembled before you start and follow the right order, you can have this on the table in just over an hour.

  • Serves 4
  • I small cauliflower, trimmed and broken into bite sized florets
  • 6 slices of smoked streaky bacon cut into lardons
  • 1 heaped tsp Madras curry powder
  • 3 tbsp light olive oil
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 75g plain flour
  • 675ml milk
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
  • 150g grated cheese – I used a mix of Parmesan (20g), gruyere (30g), Cheddar (100g)
  • 2 tbsps Panko breadcrumbs
  • 300g macaroni. I used half rigatoni, half macaroni
  • Salt and black pepper

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly grease a medium sized deep gratin with butter.
  • Add the cauliflower, bacon, curry powder, 1 tsp salt and pepper and 2 tbsp of oil to a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Put the mixture on a large parchment-lined baking tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Put it back into the mixing bowl and set aside. Keep the oven on.
  • Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Put the butter in a non-stick saucepan and melt over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the remaining 50g of butter and cook through for a few minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk to ensure you don’t get any lumps. Cook through, whisking continuously for 5 minutes and then stir in all the cheese (keep back half of the Gruyere), mustard, 1/2tsp of salt and grated garlic. Pour over cauliflower mix.
  • In parallel, cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the packet – usually about 8 minutes. Drain but reserve a little of the pasta water. Add to the cheese and cauliflower mix, mix gently. I use a silicone spatula so as not to break up the pieces. Add a little of the pasta water to thin it down if it needs it. The gratin is going to baked so the sauce needs to be oozy not stodgy.
  • Put the mixture into your greased gratin dish. Top with the Panko crumbs and grated Gruyere.
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the top is bubbling and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with green veg (I used the greens from the cauliflower wilted in a little butter) or a side salad.
  • If there’s any leftover, keep it in the fridge and reheat in a baking dish for 20 minutes with a little extra milk to reconstitute the sauce.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website. 
  • Follow me on Twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen, and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?

About Janet Davies @pigeoncottage

Food lover, author, cook!
This entry was posted in Recipes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.