Clever Casseroles: Three-cheese cauli-broccoli Mac & Cheese
Photo by KOH MUI FONG
One gets a sense that head chef Isaac Tan of Bedrock Bar & Grill loves his meats. His duo of lamb won him the Le Cordon Bleu "Design A Dish" Challenge in 2004 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. In 2009, he discovered the mammoth 1.3kg-3kg Wagyu tomahawk steak on a trip to Western Australia and introduced it for the first time in Singapore. It has been a big hit with Bedrock's customers ever since.
In contrast, another bestseller is his Mac 'n' Cheese, which is the inspiration behind this hearty vegetarian casserole. His three-cheese "cauli-broccoli Mac & Cheese" is also a great way to sneak in vegetables for the kids, said the father of one.
For added richness and greater depth of flavour, the use of gorgonzola and parmesan makes up for the absence of animal protein.
There is, he added, the option to luxe it up with a few drops of truffle oil, but based on his experience at the restaurant, most kids don't really appreciate its unique flavour and aroma. Instead, Tan prefers home cooks aim towards perfecting the staple "mac and cheese" dish, starting with the use of quality cheese - the same way one would cook with good wine. Use a blend of cheese for more complex flavours, but take note of their melting quality and cooking temperatures.
And, just in case we forget that this recipe involves working with a pre-cooked key ingredient, Tan reminded us not to overcook the pasta. Nicely al dente is the desired tenderness before mixing in the cheese sauce to bake.