1 Romanesco cauliflower (or cauliflower or broccoli)
250g macaroni (or chunky pasta)
1 ltr salted boiling water
1/2 pint milk
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups grated strong cheddar
1 tomato or red pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Break cauliflower into florets and rinse. Cook them in the boiling salted water until al dente. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and put the pasta into the same water until al dente. Drain and leave in the pan, adding the cauliflower back in.
Put the milk, flour, butter, nutmeg and mustard into a small pan and heat gently. Whisk regularly as the sauce cooks. Pay attention as it comes to boil as it will try and stick to the pan and suddenly thicken. When this happens, turn off the heat and add 1 cup of cheese, whisking it in. The sauce needs to be just about pouring consistency. If it is too thick, add a little more milk or some of the pasta water.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and cauliflower and mix well. Check it for seasoning. Tip the lot into a shallow, oven proof dish, decorate with sliced tomato and then sprinkle over the rest of the cheese. Bake in the oven until the top is brown (about 30 mins).
This is everything you want in a pasta bake; cheesy, filling, moreish. Serve with a lovely fresh green salad with a nice, sharp dressing to cut through the stodge a little. And it works well with some dry toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds on the side to sprinkle at your leisure.
NB You can cook this really quickly by boiling the pasta and cauliflower together, and whisking up the cheese sauce while they cook, then just grilling the cheesey top, rather than heating the lot through.