I don't think there is a sight more comforting than a Baked Macaroni and Cheese with a crispy, cheesy crust on top. Growing up, my sister and I would always fight over who got more of the "Nutty Bits" as we called the crunchy, hardened cheese on the top. I made this when she was over for a meal recently and I was generous in my serving of "Nutty Bits" for my gorgeous sister!
Mr 21 became addicted to this Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower and Coconut. He kept saying "more, more!" even before he was half way through his current helping! Knowing the Macaroni and Cheese was full of nutritious Cauliflower and Coconut, I couldn't help but oblige his urgent requests.
I wanted to experiment with including Coconut Milk in this classic dish because I've been using it a lot in cooking lately and love the sweetness that it brings to recipes. If the thought of coconut milk in your Mac and Cheese is a step too far, you can easily replace it will regular milk instead. To be honest, I was a little dubious at first about whether the sauce would thicken with the coconut milk. Thankfully, it thickened beautifully - just the same as with regular milk, and the end result tasted even better.
This Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower and Coconut is another great Meatless Monday Recipe. It's packed with protein and a host of healthy nutrients.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower and Coconut
500g Packet Macaroni (where to find macaroni)
3 Heaped Tablespoons Flour
1 tin Coconut Milk (where to find coconut milk)
Around 1 Cup Milk (measured in the coconut milk tin - see recipe)
1 Cup Cheese, finely grated
1 Head Cauliflower
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and get out a large baking dish.
2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, until still a little hard because they will cook further in the oven. Once cooked, drain the pasta.
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat on the stove-top. When melted, add the flour and mix continuously until thickened.
4. Slowly add the coconut milk, stirring constantly. Once all the coconut milk has been added, fill the tin with milk and stir around a little to make sure you get every tiny bit of coconut from the tin.
5. Gradually add the milk to the sauce and continue to stir continuously for a few minutes, until the sauce is lovely and thickened.
6. Meanwhile, cook the cauliflower for a few minutes to soften a little. I used the baking dish in the microwave to save on an extra dish for washing up later.
7. When the sauce is thick, add half of the cheese and stir through until combined and melted.
8. Allow the sauce to cool for a few minutes and then vigorously beat in the eggs.
9. In the baking dish, pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower, then gently mix through the cooked and drained pasta.
10. Top with the remaining half a cup of cheese.
11. Place the Macaroni and Cheese into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is deliciously browned.
This has quickly become my favorite way to indulge in Macaroni and Cheese. I'd love to hear your favorite version of Mac & Cheese!
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