Monday, 20 June 2011

Cauliflower Macaroni with chicory salad

Ok I am the first one to admit that cauliflower and pasta is a pretty weird combination. But since I have been a little infatuated with Jamie lately and just purchased 30 minute meals I was committed to trying it out, and I am happy I did! The best way to describe this dish is it is basically a healthy version of macaroni and cheese. 
I am not convinced that the chicory salad is necessary but it is delicious and as a side I would definitely recommend it!
To start get the prosciutto and put it in a roasting tray large enough o use for the pasta later and put it on the top shelf of a hot oven. You want to cook it until it crisps up. 
Trip the outer leaves of the cauliflower then cut it into quarters. Put into a large saucepan, core down, with the pasta. Ok this is weird and you ARE reading it correctly but it works. That is all I have to say about it. I didn't invent this recipe and it doesn't sound at all elegant, but it works. What more do you want?

Cover the uncooked pasta and cauliflower with boiling water, season with a pinch of salt and stir and cook until the pasta is cooked according to packet instructions. 

Meanwhile...grate the cheddar into a bowl. Get the prosciutto out of the oven (once crispy) and blitz in the processor with the bread, rosemary leaves until you have a course 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 the prosciutto in, and put over a low heat. Add 400ml of the pasta water. Crush in 2 cloves of garlic and mix in the sour cream and cheddar, gently breaking up the cauliflower with tongs. Have a taste and correct the seasoning. It should be nice and loose if it isn't add a little more 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 bubbly. 

Now for the salad. Trim the bases of the chicory and place the leaves on a serving platter. Pick the basil leaves and put them into your processor, add the garlic clove, a pinch of salt and pepper, 1/2 a jar of anchovies, 1 teaspoon of mustard, 2 tablespoons of yogurt, 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and a little olive oil. Add a little water and whiz until smooth. 

Now although this step sounds unnecessary it is really crucial! Trust me. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and gently fry the capers for a few minutes until they are crispy. Then sprinkle them on your chicory leaves and very lightly dress with the dressing. It is pretty rich so you don't need much. 

When the cauliflower macaroni is golden it is ready. I served it in the baking dish with the salad on the side. 

  • 8 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 500g dried macaroni
  • 250g low fat cheddar
  • 4 thick slices of crusty bread
  • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 x 250 g tub of light sour cream
For the salad
  • 2 red chicory
  • 2 white chicory
  • a small bunch of fresh basil
  • a clove of garlic
  • half a 30g jar of anchovies 
  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs of natural yogurt
  • 3 tbs of red wine vinegar
  • small handful of capers, drained

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