- 1 cauliflower (about 700g)
- 30 g butter
- 2 T flour
- 1 cup milk, warmed
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup cream
- Nutmeg, a pinch, grated
- ½ t mustard powder
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 T olive oil
- 100 g fusilli or macaroni, cooked al dente
- 100 g Cheddar, grated
Preheat the oven to 230°C. Rinse the cauliflower, discard the leaves and cut the stalk so that the cauliflower can stand upright.
Heat the butter in a medium- sized ovenproof casserole slightly larger than the cauliflower. Stir in the flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer, whisking, until thick and smooth. Whisk in the stock and cream. Add the nutmeg, mustard and season to taste.
Place the cauliflower in the centre of the casserole, rub the top with olive oil and season. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200°C and bake for 20–30 minutes, or until browned and tender. Check the seasoning. Serve from the casserole, dishing up portions of cauliflower along with the soup. Add the hot pasta and a sprinkling of Cheddar to each serving.
Cook's note: This creamy soup was inspired by the French classic crème Madame du Barry, named after the courtesan who became the last mistress of Louis XV, king of France. (Serve portions of roasted cauliflower in each bowl and you, too, will feel like royalty.)