Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Cauliflower Macaroni Cheese

Cauliflower Macaroni - Jamie Oliver

I’m back with another one of Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals dishes. This one was his Cauliflower Macaroni dish, which he served with a green salad and a dessert, which, as usual, I didn’t make.  I decided not to bust a gut tonight trying to get it done in 30 minutes. In theory it should have taken 30 minutes because the total of the cooking was 11 minutes for the pasta and cauliflower and then 8 minutes in the oven with not a lot of preparation. But it still took me 45 minutes. Today I was reading another blog called Hotly Spiced and she also tried unsuccessfully to make one of Jamie’s meals in 30 minutes. Her account of her attempt was hilarious and worth reading.

This is not a low Fodmap recipe.

Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Cauliflower Macaroni Cheese
  • 8 rashers of bacon
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 500g dried macaroni
  • Olive oil as required
  • 250g mature Cheddar cheese
  • 4 thick slices of bread
  • large sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2 large clove of garlic
  • 250g crème fraîche
  • Salt & pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, to serve
  1. Fill the kettle with water and bring to the boil. Preheat the oven on to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas 7.
  2. Lay the bacon in the dish you will eventually be using for the pasta mixture and put on the top shelf of the oven to pre-cook.
  3. Trim off any very coarse or spoiled outer leaves from the cauliflower and remove the tough end of the stalk. Quarter the head or break it up into large pieces. Place in a large saucepan, stalks downwards and add the pasta.
  4. Pour over the boiling water to cover the ingredients, season, add a little olive oil and place on a high heat. Stir well until it reboils, and cook with the lid just askew.
  5. Grate the cheddar cheese in the food processor and tip into a bowl. Add the crème fraiche and crushed garlic.
  6. Remove the bacon from the oven. Using a food processer, process well with the bread and rosemary leaves. Add a good drizzle of olive oil to bind the ingredients into a coarse breadcrumb consistency.
  7. When the cauliflower and the pasta is just cooked (a knife inserted into the cauliflower stalk should slip in easily), reserving the cooking water, drain it all through a colander into a large bowl.
  8. Tip the pasta mixture into the dish the bacon was cooked in.
  9. Add about 400ml (just under a pint) of the reserved cooking water.
  10. Stir in the crème fraîche and cheese mixture, breaking the cauliflower up with a fork or potato masher until you have bite-sized pieces.
  11. Season. The sauce should be loose and if necessary, add another splash of the reserved cooking water.
  12. Spread the mixture out evenly in the dish and scatter over the breadcrumb topping.
  13. Cook on the top shelf of the oven for around 8-10 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the mixture bubbling.
  14. To serve grate over some Parmesan.

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  1. Eha says

    Kudos on a beautiful photo of an old classic on our menus since childhood . Love the rosemary bough so artistically falling over the dish :) ! If you look at Jamie’s 30 minute meals – much of the prep has been done and dirty dishes disappear as if by magic! I have sort’of watched the guy grow up and love so much of what he does, use his recipes regularly [so sensible], but I certainly would not put the timer on when prepping 😀 !

    • says

      Also, I have noticed in the film clips that one second he is perhaps peeling one carrot and then magically they are all peeled. I have seen that magic several times if you look closely so even he is not doing it all in the requisite time. And I can’t bear the dirty dishes stacking up. I like to keep a tidy kitchen while I work.
      I grabbed all that rosemary when I was visiting my mother over the weekend so thought I should use it. I did think it would get burned as the dish was straight out of the oven but it’s made of sturdy stuff.

  2. says

    I’m so happy to have found another kindred spirit – another member in the 30-minute fail club! Your cauliflower dish looks absolutely delicious and like you said on my blog, the recipes are so yummy. I’m sure we would all enjoy them a lot more if we didn’t sit there wondering where we failed. I think you’ve done incredibly well to bring this in in 45 minutes. Great achievement! xx

    • says

      Fail club is right. There’s so little time in the evenings after work to exercise, cook, photograph and blog, so I really need quick dinners and mostly they don’t exist. Even a basic salad takes trime to clean and cut up all the vegetables.
      I will be keeping an eye on your efforts to lift yourself out of the fail club via your blog.

  3. says

    What a brilliant variation on traditional Mac ‘n Cheese – The cauliflower sounds delicious and I’m loving the rosemary in this recipe and in your photo! So pretty with the brilliant green surrounding your dish.

  4. says

    I love cauliflower and it’s so nice to see it in macaroni cheese! I love JO too, and his recipes are wonderful. I love using (neighbor’s) fresh rosemary and this is definitely a keeper for our week night meal!

    • says

      I made a great dish last week which used finely chopped cauliflower instead of couscous and no one could tell the difference. You should check it out. I’ll be doing another Jamie meal tomorrow night.

  5. says

    Really like the idea of adding cauliflower to mac ‘n cheese. People used to skip the pasta entirely and do a cauliflower gratin, but I haven’t seen those around lately. This is a good dish – thanks.

  6. nessie says

    you said you are an amateur photographer??? your photo up there is so so professional , you are very good. iam also into food and photography – but iam not good at photography as you are. Do you have a website or facebook page where you showcase your photography/ i could learn from you

    • says

      Thanks so much, Nessie, for the compliment. I only started photography less than a year ago so I do consider myself an amateur. My photos are only here on this blog for now. Good luck with your own photos.

        • says

          No photography course but I did read a lot of online tutorials and my son is doing a design degree with a major in photography. He was able to help when I got stuck.

  7. Annya says

    Fantastic recipe, unfortunately it took me an hour because I am such a disorganized person. Kids love it so was a winner!

    • says

      I’m glad it worked well for you, Annya. Trying to get Jamie’s meals down to 30 minutes has made me a lot more efficient in the kitchen. I was used to cleaning up as I went, but you can’t do that with Jamie’s meals so I had to learn to put up with the mess while I cooked.

  8. Paul says

    Hi don’t suppose you know what the green sauce/ dressing was I just caught the end of this episode, thanks Paul

  9. Mrs M Hughes says




  1. […] link back and found a young girl talking about her November favourite things and she mentioned my Jamie Oliver recipe of cauliflower macaroni cheese as one of her favourite recipes and so some of her tens of thousands of followers have come to […]

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