Baked Cheesy Veg

This recipe puts the geeky ingredient to great use in a summery version of a comforting family favourite… it’s an ultimate version because we pimp every element!


10 cherry tomatoes
2 heads of romanesco cauliflower
1 bay leaf
40 g flour
40 g butter
1 tbsp mustard
25 g gruyere cheese
75 g cheddar cheese
50 ml double cream
1 handful of pancetta, diced
2 slices of white bread
1 handful of toasted almond flakes
25 g parmesan


Dry the tomatoes
Preheat an oven to 110ºC. Place the tomatoes onto a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 2 hours until dried.

Blanch the cauliflower
Heat a pan of salted water to a boil. Cut the cauliflower into florets. Blanch the cauliflower in the boiling water for 4-5 minutes, until just cooked, then drain and set it aside in the fridge for later.

Make the cheese sauce
Melt the butter in a saucepan with the bay leaf and stir in the flour to make a paste. Cook it for a minute. Pour in the milk a little at a time, whisking all the time and making sure the mix is smooth before adding more. Once you’ve added all the milk, allow to bubble gently for a couple of minutes, then add the mustard, nutmeg and both cheeses. Stir to combine and melt before pouring in the double cream. Mix it and set aside!

Finish the sauce
Fry the pancetta in a dry frying pan until it goes very crisp. Stir them into the cheese sauce.

Finish and serve!
Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Layer the sauce and cauliflower florets into a baking dish so that some florets are still visible. Roughly blitz up the bread and scatter it, along with the parmesan and remaining almond flakes, in-between the visible florets. Bake the dish for a 10 minutes, until the breadcrumb mix is well browned. Serve at the table and let every dig in! Serves 4-6


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