“In the Oliver household, Christmas isn’t Christmas without a molten cheesy number in the mix, and this comforting-hug-of-a-recipe is a thing of beauty. I’ve used red Leicester cheese this time round, but feel free to swap in your favourites or opt for a blend – Parmesan, Gruyère or a little blue all make fantastic additions. It’s a great reheater, too (see our tips box below). ”
Click off and discard any tatty outer leaves from the cauliflower, then cook whole in a large high-sided pan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Tip in the macaroni and cook for a further 5 minutes, then drain and steam dry.
Peel and finely slice the garlic, trim and finely slice the spring onions and strip the thyme leaves, then place in a large non-stick frying pan with the butter and 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook for a few minutes, or until softened, then finely grate in half the nutmeg.
Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, then gradually add the milk, stirring continuously. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes, or until starting to thicken, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat, add the mustard and coarsely grate in the cheese, then stir to combine.
Remove the stalk and leaves from the cauliflower, finely chop and place in a round ovenproof baking dish (roughly 25cm). Sit the whole cauliflower on top.
Spoon the cooked pasta in and around the cauliflower, then pour the sauce all over on top, gently mixing to coat the pasta.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
Rattle through to step 7 on Christmas Eve, then pop it in the fridge until needed. When you take your turkey out to rest, whack it in the oven with your other trimmings – job done!