This outrageously good macaroni and cheese can be in your oven within 20 minutes of you walking through the door. It is divinely delicious and has added vegetables for nutrition. A dish the whole family will love!
I teach this fast macaroni and cheese recipe in my 45-minute Weeknight Meal cooking class. The meal does take a bit longer to cook than 45 minutes but passive cooking time does not count in my book. If I can be taking a shower, helping with homework or walking the dog while dinner churns away in the oven I am happy and relaxed.
At the moment, we are all stuck at home with plenty of time on our hands. However, for many of you the novelty of having hours to spend in the kitchen has worn off. After 4 weeks of confinement I have friends who would happily give a limb to have a break from cooking. So I decided to share this recipe. Comfort food is welcome during this unusual time in our lives and this meal is fast comfort food.
For years I have followed the same macaroni and cheese recipe. It is made with a béchamel sauce. Then 3 different varieties of cheese are partially melted into the sauce before building the crumb-crusted final dish. It’s amazing. But it is not exactly a quick meal.
A few years ago I came across this recipe. When I noticed that it was just a “throw everything in” dish I had to try it. I was skeptical. Surely a short-cut, fast Mac ‘n Cheese could not be as good as a recipe made with the time and love that goes into making a béchamel. And then making a béchamel into a mornay….
Does this fast macaroni and cheese recipe match up to my original recipe? Honestly, I have not done a taste test. But I will tell you this. 20-Minute Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower and Tomatoes is TOTALLY delicious. As a single, working mum it is now my new go-to for Mac ‘n Cheese. And that is good enough for me.
Maybe during lockdown, with time on my hands, I will make my original recipe. Or maybe I will just make this one…………. And use that extra time to read my book by the pool…….Print
Fast, easy, delicious
- 1 lb/450g pasta, macaroni or mini shells
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 head of cauliflower
- 8 oz/225g shredded mozzarella
- 8 oz/225 g good quality shredded cheddar
- 2 oz/ 56g grated Parmesan
- 1 1/2 cups/ 350 ml heavy cream (creme liquide)
- butter, oil or spray for greasing the pan
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Heat a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until HALFWAY cooked through. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid before draining the pasta.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half or squash them open with a potato masher (wear an apron!)
- Cut the cauliflower into very small florets. (1/2 inch/1 cm)
- Place the mozzarella, Parmesan, cheddar and cream in a large bowl. Add the semi-cooked pasta, reserved cooking liquid, cauliflower and tomatoes. Toss well and season with salt and pepper.
- Grease a baking dish and pour the pasta in to the baking dish.
- Cover with foil. Bake for 20-25 min. Remove foil and bake for another 25 min until bubbly, browning and partially crunchy.