Cauliflower Pasta Bake #Vegan
 
Ingredients
FOR THE BECHAMEL
  • 30g olive oil (you can use vegan butter or regular butter if you prefer)
  • 30g flour
  • 300 ml almond milk, warmed
  • A dash nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
FOR THE TOPPING
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or vegan butter or regular butter)
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup almond flour, or finely ground cashews
  • Pinch salt
FOR THE BAKE
  • cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
  • A few sage leaves or a few rosemary needles, finely minced
  • onion, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • short pasta, your favorite kind (see above)
  • ½ cup grated cheese if not vegan
Instructions
MAKE THE BECHAMEL
  1. Add the oil to a pot (or melt the butter if using butter, then turn off the fire). Add the flour a little by little as you whisk, so that lumps will not form. Once you obtain a smooth roux, turn on the heat to low and add the warm milk a little by little as you keep whisking. Add a dash of nutmeg and a little salt and pepper. Turn on the heat to medium and keep whisking until the bechamel starts to thicken, which might take about 5 minutes or less. As it gets thicker, whisk more vigorously. Once the bechamel is thickened enough (it should have the consistency of pudding) turn off the heat.
MAKE THE TOPPING
  1. Combine all the ingredients and toss them together well, then add to a hot pan and toast the mix for a minute, or until golden brown. Set aside for later.
MAKE THE PASTA BAKE
  1. Boil the cauliflower in slightly salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside and reserve the pan with the boiling water, we'll need it for the pasta.
  2. Add the oil, minced herb of choice and onions to a pan and cook on medium, stirring every now and then, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add a splash of water to avoid sticking, cover and cook the onions for at least 10 minutes. Check every now and then to make sure they do not stick.
  3. Add the cauliflower to the pan, along with salt and pepper, and sauté until the cauliflower is coated in oil and flavorful. Break it to smaller pieces and sauté until all moisture is gone. Adjust salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer ⅓ of this mix to a blender and blend with a splash of almond milk. You should obtain a rather thick cream, so do not add too much liquid.
  5. In the meantime, boil the pasta until ¾ done - cook it to a little before al dente.
  6. It's time to combine everything! Preheat the oven to 200 C˚.
  7. Get a baking pan and oil it generously, then spread about 3 loaded tablespoons of bechamel on top. In a bow, combine the pasta, the cooked onion and cauliflower, the cauliflower cream, the cheese if using and an extra pinch of salt and pepper. Spread everything evenly in the baking pan and top with the topping, and some extra grated cheese if using. (At this stage, you can freeze or refrigerate this tray as is and bake at a later time).
  8. Bake until the top is golden, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Recipe by Hortus Natural Cooking by Valentina Solfrini at http://hortuscuisine.com/blog/2018/01/17/vegetable-literacy-1-onion-y-creamy-cauliflower-pasta-bake/