With its creamy sauce and classic pasta, mac ’n’ cheese is the ultimate winning family dish – but it needs a little help to transform it into a filling meal. So, we’ve added chunks of bacon and golden roasted cauliflower to take this classic to the next level, plus a fresh side salad to contrast the rich sauce.
/ serving 4 people
/ serving 4 people
grated Parmesan cheese(ContainsMilk)
mixed salad leaves
Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then roast until tender, 20-25 minutes.
While the cauliflower is roasting, thinly slice the spring onion, keeping the white and green parts separate. Zest the lemon to get a generous pinch. Add the penne to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until ‘al dente’, 9 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, then drain the pasta, return to the pan and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking.
While the pasta is cooking, cut the bacon into 1cm pieces. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 6-7 minutes.
Add the lemon zest, butter and white parts of the spring onion to the bacon and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the plain flour and cook, stirring, until the ‘raw’ smell has cooked off, 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and add the thickened cream and grated Parmesan cheese. Crumble in 1 chicken stock cube and stir until combined. Add the cooked penne and roasted cauliflower to the sauce. Season to taste with pepper. Stir through the green parts of the spring onion (or reserve and sprinkle over the adults' portions). Add 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water and stir to combine. Add more pasta water if needed.
Juice the lemon. Slice the cucumber into half-moons. Roughly chop the tomato. In a large bowl, combine 2 tsp lemon juice with the honey and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Add the mixed salad leaves, cucumber and tomato to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. TIP: Toss the salad just before serving to keep the leaves crisp.
Divide the cauliflower and bacon creamy penne between bowls and serve the salad on the side. Sprinkle any reserved spring onion over the adults' portions. TIP: For kids, follow our serving suggestion in the main image