Carbonara Cauliflower Mac n’ Cheese

“Loving the Leftovers” … that is a category I added to my posts because ” l’arte del riciclo “, which translates into English as the art of using leftovers, is all about creating a FRESH dish using the remains of a previous meal.  I think Italian food lends itself to this technique for reasons best sought  in its history and tradition (If there were any leftovers to be had, people were so poor they wouldn’t dream of letting them go to waste, let alone throw them away).  The bilinguist in me chuckles at the semantic difference ascribed to the root word “re-cycle”.  In English it is about rubbish (garbage to the Americans), i.e. how to make use of what is deemed disgusting; whereas in Italian it is about creating something delicious to eat !

I am not sure that my ‘riciclo’ last night was smack-your-lips delicious; it engendered more of the head-nodding, quietly approving, savouring sort of appreciation.  It’s because I have had quite the stressful week this past week and even my autopilot brain was showing signs of flagging.  I was flummoxed almost to the point of tears by the predicament of a fridge full of containers that on other occasions would have been a very stimulating sight to behold.  My heart felt heavy at the thought of ‘recycling’ it … euphemism for you know what.  Thus it was that I resorted to that most useful of decision-making fillips: Eeny Meeny Miny Mo.  And here is the ‘riciclo’ result.  Take a look … I leave it to you to decide whether it was a Mac n’ Cheese, or a Cauliflower Cheese with a twist !


1. I had simmered a cauliflower in some milk, with an onion, a bay leaf, and some nutmeg.  I had then puréed it.

2. I had made a carbonara using egg pasta — I had made far too much and the remains were stored in the fridge.

3. I had some sausages that my in-laws had brought for us from the Marche.

4. I had some grated parmesan cheese in the fridge too.  Breadcrumbs.  Butter.


IMG_9482 The carbonara pasta … and the slices of sausage …

IMG_9483 The cauliflower puré …IMG_9484 Smother the pasta and sausage with the puré ….IMG_9485 Let it snow parmesan cheese over the surface ….IMG_9486 Camouflage it all with plenty of breadcrumbs and scattered hillocks of butter … Pop it into a previously heated oven: 200°C … for about half an hour … and up to 40 minutes (it will depend on the oven.  Ovens have a mind of their own, and  each one will have its idiosyncratic quirky way with you).IMG_9487 Fresh out of the oven !IMG_9488 I made these sweet-and-sour onionettes as an accompaniment to the rest of the dinner … in the event, they paired beautifully with the leftovers.  Ha! go figure …IMG_9489 IMG_9490 IMG_9491

Whatever would we do without ovens, eh?

Wishing you all a very happy weekend …

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in Basic Techniques, Loving the Leftovers, Primi (first courses - usually a pasta or risotto), Secondi (main course, usually meat based) and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Carbonara Cauliflower Mac n’ Cheese

  1. krumkaker says:

    It is great when various elements come together to a dish like this. Nice use of what you had on hand!

  2. jasmine mathieson says:

    Wow, that looks delicious….very clever use of leftovers! Brava!! xx

    • I’m not sure I would ever make it from scratch again … but it was nice and was a clever way of using up the cauliflower puré. I suppose we could think of the cauliflower puré as a substitute for bechamel?

  3. Jo, that’s such an inventive way to use up those leftovers. I’m sure it tasted delicious.

  4. Even in the depths of your dinner despair you are bang on trend!! Cauliflower is the new black and is the answer to everything gluten free including pizza bases – imagine?! I quite like the sound of this Jo – it’s such a homey comforting dish – perfect for this weather!

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