Macaroni cheese was my absolute favourite meal as a child. My healthier take swaps out the heavy milk-based sauce for a silky smooth cauliflower puree spiked with sharp cheddar. Paired with gluten-free pasta, my wholefood version will make you forget the original forever. This is pure comfort food with a big dose of hidden vege. Great for little people and easily customisable.
ghee or coconut oil for sautéing
½ medium onion, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, finely diced
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
1½ cups vegetable stock
1½ cups finely grated tasty cheese (you could also use parmesan for a sharper flavour)
1 tablespoon butter
sea salt and ground black pepper
250 grams gluten-free penne (I used the Rice and Quinoa pasta from Ceres Organics)
¾ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (I blitzed some Venerdi GF Brown Sourdough in my food processor)
¾ cup finely grated parmesan or cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 200˚C.
Heat a generous dollop of oil in large sauté pan (one that comes with a lid ideally) over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for fine minutes until translucent and tender. Add the cauliflower and stock. Place the lid on top and gently simmer for 10–15 minutes until the cauliflower is very soft.
Use either a powerful blender or a hand blender to blitz (along with the stock) until silky smooth. Stir through the cheese and butter. Season generously with sea salt and ground black pepper.
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and combine with cauliflower sauce.
Spoon pasta and sauce into an oven-proof dish. Scatter the breadcrumbs on top and then the cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown on top.
Serve immediately with a crisp salad or steamed broccoli.