Sunday, September 16, 2007

Macaroni and Cheese


This is based on a recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl (who is one of my food heroes). I'd never really been a mac and cheese kinda girl - the reason being that every one I tasted prior to this was bland and insipid. But I did like the idea of it - pasta + cheesey sauce = heaven in my book. When I made this, it completely and utterly knocked my socks off!

I've cut down a bit on the cheese in my version - they ask for 4 cups, which I thought made it a bit too cheesy (if there is such a thing), although I do use pretty darn tasty 'tasty' cheese, so maybe keep that in mind. I've also added peas, just because I think all that cheesyness needs to balanced by something from the vegetable kingdom!

Macaroni and Cheese

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs, preferable made from wholegrain bread
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 3/4 cups milk
3/4 cup cream
3 cups grated tasty cheddar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cups frozen peas
500 grams elbow macaroni

1 - Preheat the oven to 200 C.

2 - Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. With 5 minutes to go, add the peas. Cook until al dente, then drain and set aside.

3 - Meanwhile, made the cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the flour and chilli flakes, and whisk to combine. Cook for a minute or two, then slowly add the milk, stirring furiously the entire time so that no lumps form (if they do, just squish them on the side of the pan). Simmer, whisking for 3 minutes, then add the cream, cheese and mustard. Let simmer for a minute or so more, or until the mixture thickens. Take off the heat.

4 - Put the macaroni and peas in a very large baking dish, then pour the cheese sauce evenly over the top. Spread the breadcrumbs over the top, then bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden. Take out from oven, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving with a green salad.

1 comment:

  1. Johanna11:33 AM

    ... just to let you know that this recipe has turned into my favourite mac'n'cheese recipe :) I have made it several times so far and enjoy every bite of it. Will try it with milk only next time - as a slightly lighter version.

    Greetings from Germany,
    Johanna

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