Somewhere between macaroni and cauliflower cheese, these pasta bakes are perfect for a cold day.
50g/2oz plain flour
50g/2oz butter, plus 1 tbsp
1 tsp Dijon mustard
100g/4oz extra mature cheddar, grated
25-50g/1-2oz blue cheese
½ tsp finely grated nutmeg
1kg/2lb 4oz cauliflower (2 medium ones), cut into florets
750g/1lb 10oz frozen spinach (whole leaf), defrosted and squeezed dry
25g/1oz toasted pine nuts
FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE
4 garlic cloves, 3 sliced, 1 left whole
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
700g jar tomato passata
For the tomato sauce, cook the sliced garlic in the oil for 1 min, then add the passata. Season, half-cover the pan and simmer for 20 mins until rich.
Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Put the milk, flour and 50g butter into a pan. Heat, whisking non-stop, until smooth, then bubble for 3 mins, stirring to make sure any flouriness is lost. Cool for 5 mins, then stir in the mustard, most of the cheddar, half the blue cheese and
half the nutmeg.
Boil the penne and cauliflower for 8 mins in salted water until the pasta is almost cooked and the cauli is tender. Keep 2 tbsp water from the pan, then drain. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a pan, add the whole garlic clove, spinach, remaining nutmeg, salt and lots of black pepper. Stir for 2 mins, then remove the garlic clove.
Set aside 300ml cheese sauce and mix the rest into the cauli and pasta. Divide half the tomato sauce between 6 dishes and top with some spinach. Fill with cauli mix, top with more spinach, then the rest of the tomato sauce. Top with the cheese sauce, cheeses and pine nuts. Cover with cling film, cool and chill for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month. To cook, defrost if frozen. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cook on a baking sheet for 18-20 mins until golden and bubbling. Good with green salad or garlic bread.
591 kcals, protein 28g, carbs 60g, fat 29g, sat fat 13g, fibre 8g, sugar 18g, salt 1.91g