“It’s all about staying in at night, being cosy and warm and sharing a good bottle of wine with the people you love,” says Eathouse Diner chef and owner, Age Durrant of hearty cooking during the winter months.

Durrant's truffled cauliflower macaroni and cheese is a melange of some serious cold-climate comfort food. “You can use any of your favourite cheeses but if you go with the truffle, avoid anything too strongly flavoured as it will overpower the truffle,” he says. “I like using grana padano as it has a nutty, sweet flavour and combining it with tasty cheese just gives it that extra bit of cheesiness.”

“It is quite simply the most comforting thing you could ever eat on a cold winter’s night.”

Give it a go yourself:

Truffled Cauliflower Macaroni & Cheese

This recipe makes enough for 4 large portions, or 8 smaller portions as a side dish

Ingredients:

1 litre full cream milk
1 brown onion
3 cloves garlic
bunch of parsley stalks
20 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
10 cloves
350g cauliflower
125g (1/4 packet) macaroni or similarly shaped dried pasta
75g salted butter
75g plain flour
250g grana padano (a sweetish parmesan), 100g for béchamel, 150g to top
250g tasty cheese, 100g for béchamel, 150g to top
Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper
Truffle oil (or fresh truffles if you want to be fancy)

Method:

Firstly we want to infuse some flavours into the milk for our béchamel sauce:
– In a saucepan add the milk, onion and garlic (roughly chopped), parsley stalks, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves and bring to the boil

– As soon as it comes up to the boil switch it off and allow to sit for 20 minutes for the milk to absorb all the flavours, then strain, discarding the onions and the rest

Then:
– Break the cauliflower into small florets and set aside

– Cook your macaroni in salted boiling water (follow the manufacturer's instructions for time)

– In the last minute of boiling your macaroni add the cauliflower and continue to boil for the remaining time

– Drain macaroni and cauliflower, and refresh with cold water to stop them cooking further before setting aside

For the béchamel:
– Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium to high heat until foaming.

– Add the flour. Cook, stirring, for one to two minutes or until bubbling. Adjust the heat to low.

– Slowly add the infused milk, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth. Turn back up to medium heat.

– Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for five minutes or until sauce comes to the boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
– Remove from heat. Stir in grana padano and tasty cheese until melted
– Add some freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper, and a generous dowse of truffle oil or shaved truffles all to your taste

To assemble:
– Simply combine the cooked macaroni, cauliflower plus béchamel and either place into a large ceramic oven dish or smaller dishes for individual portions (I use ceramic tapas bowls)

– Top with the remaining tasty cheese and grana padano & sprinkle with grated nutmeg

– Place in a hot oven 220ºC, 10 minutes for the smaller dishes or half an hour for a large one (20 minutes covered with foil and 10 minutes uncovered) or until you can see it’s all bubbling away and the cheese on top is going a delicious golden colour!

Serve straight from the oven.