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Cheat's Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

"The easiest dish for a family dinner and the creme fraiche makes it very stable as well as great flavours.  Mum and Dad may like to serve this with Thai sweet chilli sauce for a kick of heat and it is equally delicious with a mixed green salad dressed with your favourite vinaigrette."


Ingredients
 

300g penne pasta

1 small cauliflower, sliced into florets

250g creme fraiche

1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard

175g grated cheese

2 tomatoes, cut into rough wedges

 
Method
 

Cook the pasta according to the packet directions and in the last few minutes of cooking time add the cauliflower and cook until just tender.

Drain the pasta and cauliflower well.  Put the creme fraiche, mustard and most of the cheese (keeping back a handful) into the pasta pan.  Stir and warm through over a low heat just until the cheese starts to melt.

Preheat the grill to hot.  Tip the pasta and cauliflower into the cheese sauce and gently stir together.  Season to taste.

Transfer to a flameproof dish, scatter the tomatoes over the top, then the rest of the cheese and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.  Grill for about 5 minutes until brown and bubbling.

Tip: Serve with a mixed green salad with a tangy balsamic dressing - the contrast between the dressing and the pasta is just delicious.

 

Baked seafood macaroni cheese serves 6 / time 45 minutes

Ingredients

 

For this dish we bought a 500g bag of frozen seafood marinara at the supermarket for $8.95, added to the pasta it makes fabulous and generous baked seafood pasta dish for the whole family.

 

5 cups macaroni or penne

2 tbsp butter

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

1 clove crushed garlic

½ tsp Cajun spice

1/3 cup  flour

3 cups milk

Generous pinch ground nutmeg

500g seafood marinara mix, defrosted

2 cups grated cheese

¼ cup chopped parsley - optional

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and milled pepper

 

Method
 

Preheat oven to 190C

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni 2 minutes less than packet suggested cooking time, drain, rinse with cold water. Set aside

While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a saucepan add onion, garlic and Cajun spice cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the four and cook 1 minute. Add milk, whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer, and cook until sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Remove pan from heat, stir in the marinara seafood, macaroni, and ½ the cheese; transfer to 2L baking dish. Mix breadcrumbs with the olive oil and scatter over macaroni

Bake until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving
 

Cooks Tip:
You don’t have to make this with a frozen seafood marinara mix, if your able to buy fresh seafood, simply cut it all into similar sized pieces for easy and even cooking. To defrost the seafood mix, simply leave on a plate overnight in the fridge.

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