This is part spaghetti carbonara, part cauliflower cheese – and deliciously golden and moreish. Baking it at the end to melt the cheese isn’t essential, but does lift it to a better place.

Using hard, strong cheese means that you don’t need very much of it, a trick I use quite often. I mean, what is the point of mild cheddar other than for kids packed lunches?

(Serves 2)

150g spaghetti

1 tbsp oil

100g cauliflower, broken into small florets

100g streaky bacon, chopped

2 eggs

100ml milk

Black pepper

30g hard strong cheese, grated

Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, gently heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the cauliflower and bacon.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and beat in.

When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add to the pan with the cauliflower and bacon. Pour in the egg mixture and mix through.

Transfer the spaghetti to an ovenproof baking dish, top with the grated cheese and grill for a few minutes, until the cheese is golden and crispy.

Jack’s tip – as a vegetarian alternative, use broccoli in place of the bacon, which will reduce the cost significantly as well.

All text copyright Jack Monroe.

First published in The Guardian, 29 Jan 2014. Photography by David Levene for The Guardian.

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