This comforting dish is best served with a crisp bitter green salad with a tart dressing to cut through the richness.
- 50 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 50 gm plain flour (1/3 cup)
- 500 ml milk, warmed (2 cups)
- 120 gm coarsely grated aged cheddar, plus extra for scattering
- 1½ tbsp coarsely chopped thyme
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 200 gm dried macaroni
- 400 gm cauliflower (about 1/3 cauliflower), cut into florets
- 40 gm coarse day-old sourdough breadcrumbs
- 20 gm hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- To serve: bitter green leaf salad
- 1Preheat grill to high heat. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add flour and stir until sandy-coloured (2-4 minutes). Gradually whisk in milk and stir until mixture is thick and comes to the boil (2-4 minutes). Stir in cheese, 1 tbsp thyme and mustard, season to taste and keep warm.
- 2Meanwhile, cook macaroni in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (5-6 minutes), adding cauliflower after 2 minutes. Drain and return cauliflower and macaroni to pan, stir in cheese sauce, season to taste, pour into a large baking dish, scatter with remaining cheese.
- 3Combine breadcrumbs, hazelnuts, oil and remaining thyme in a bowl, scatter over cauliflower mixture and grill until golden (3-4 minutes). Serve hot with a bitter green leaf salad.