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Mac 'N' Cheese with Butternut, Bacon, Sage, Spinach and Creamy Cauliflower Cheese Sauce

Servings 4
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 35 mins


Roast butternut

  • 600g butternut or pumpkin, peeled and diced 1-2cm
  • 2 slices lean bacon (e.g. shoulder or mid-eye), rind removed and diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 10-15 sage leaves
  • 1 Tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Creamy cauliflower cheese sauce

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ medium head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • cup milk
  • ½ cup salt-reduced chicken or vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Tbsp finely chopped parsley

Parmesan and parsley topping

  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley


  • 220g dried macaroni (quinoa, wholemeal or standard)
  • 2-2½ cups chopped spinach or silverbeet leaves


  • Preheat oven for 220°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
  • Toss butternut, bacon and onion with sage, thyme and olive oil on a lined tray. Spread out in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and roast for about 20 minutes, tossing once during cooking, until butternut is soft and slightly caramelised.
  • For the sauce, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, with a pinch of salt, for about 2 minutes until soft, but not coloured. Add cauliflower, milk and stock. Cover partially and simmer for about 15 minutes or until cauliflower is soft.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate pot, cook macaroni in boiling salted water until al dente (just cooked).
  • Stir Parmesan into cauliflower mixture, then use a blender or stick blender to puree cauliflower and its cooking liquid together until silky smooth. Add a little more milk is you think the sauce needs thinning out. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Switch oven to grill. Drain pasta, tip back into the pot and stir through spinach/silverbeet until wilted. Gently stir in roast butternut mixture. Spoon into 4 individual ramekins or one large baking dish. Spoon over cauliflower cheese sauce.
  • Mix Parmesan and parsley and sprinkle over the top, then grill for 5-10 minutes until golden.


Nutrition information:
Energy: 440cals (1838kJ)
Protein: 21.0g
Carbohydrate: 61.8g (14.4g sugars)
Fat: 10.5g (2.9g saturated fat)
Calories: 440kcal