Cauliflower cheese & spinach pasta bakes

Cauliflower cheese & spinach pasta bakes

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(34 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 45 mins

Easy

Serves 6
Somewhere between macaroni and cauliflower cheese, these pasta bakes are perfect for a cold day

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition:

  • kcal591
  • fat29g
  • saturates13g
  • carbs60g
  • sugars18g
  • fibre8g
  • protein28g
  • salt1.91g
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Ingredients

  • 850ml milk

    Milk

    mill-k

    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g butter, plus 1 tbsp
    Butter

    Butter

    butt-err

    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100g extra mature cheddar, grated
    Cheddar

    Cheddar

    Ched-ah

    Once cheddar was 'Cheddar', a large, hard-pressed barrel of cheese made by a particular…

  • 25-50g blue cheese
  • ½ tsp finely grated nutmeg
    Nutmeg

    Nutmeg

    nut-meg

    One of the most useful of spices for both sweet and savoury

  • 250g penne
  • 1kg cauliflower (2 medium ones), cut into florets
    Cauliflower

    Cauliflower

    coll-ee-fl-ow-ah

    A brassica, like cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower is a mass of tiny, tightly packed flower…

  • 750g frozen spinach (whole leaf), defrosted and squeezed dry
    Spinach

    Spinach

    spin-atch

    Used in almost every cuisine across the world, spinach is an enormously popular green vegetable…

  • 25g 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

Method

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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susaneardley
23rd Sep, 2013
This was lovely & went down a storm with the whole family! I cheated a but, using passatta with garlic & herbs already in. I also didn't have time for the layering & separating so just mixed it all together in one big baking dish & bunged it in the oven.
Kitchen helper
2nd Sep, 2013
I've made this recipe for dinner this evening. It was delicious, loved the vegetables and garlic and the cheese sauce was perfect. The only downsides to this recipe are that there are a lot of steps therefore it required more time than I initially first thought. Also, this dish requires many saucepans, which although I have, some others may find it difficult if they only have a 3 piece set.
vickybrunton6869
15th Apr, 2013
5.05
I made this the other night in a large dish and it was beautiful!!!! I used a little extra blue cheese and I did cheat and use a loyd grossman sauce just to save time. Highly recommend :)
cat1974
25th Jan, 2013
Would like to try. Recipe says Keep 2 tbsp water from the pan, then drain. But it doesnt say what to do with the water that you´ve kept?
harrymondeo
30th Dec, 2012
5.05
Top recipe....have used it regularly since appeared in the magazine, tend to use frozen spinach as it is one of our regular winter seasonal dishes. My fella always likes meat in ANYTHING so I add some chopped bacon to give him his fix. Easily freezable, so make batches and save time later, well worth the effort that way. EXCELLENT
harrymondeo
30th Dec, 2012
5.05
Top recipe....have used it regularly since appeared in the magazine, tend to use frozen spinach as it is one of our regular winter seasonal dishes. My fella always likes meat in ANYTHING so I add some chopped bacon to give him his fix. Easily freezable, so make batches and save time later, well worth the effort that way. EXCELLENT
mummymandymoo
14th Nov, 2012
3.05
No doubt about it, this is yummy. However, it is a real faff to make and uses almost every pan in the kitchen! Will make again but use a shop bought tomato sauce. Would also use fresh spinach and just wilt it down with the butter and garlic rather than defrost frozen spinach, squeeze it out etc etc.
susieone
16th Jun, 2012
3.05
I halved the recipe, but otherwise followed it without alteration. I served it with garlic bread. It made a pleasant change for an after work supper and enabled me to use up a few odd things left in the fridge, but I won't repeat it. There was nothing wrong with the recipe; it just wasn't very inspiring.
tdawas
29th Jan, 2012
4.05
Only way we can get cauliflower and spinach into our children's stomachs!
dimple sonejimakani
15th Nov, 2011
5.05
Wonderful recipe...lovely autumnal meal!

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