Friday, 10 January 2014

Traditional Macaroni Cheese

Macaroni Cheese

I've always loved macaroni cheese. There's just something so indulgent about taking a sauce that's basically just cheese, and then smothering the whole dish in more cheese before grilling it to a crispy finish.

I do have one unfortunate macaroni memory. In primary school, I went round to a friend's house for tea, and said friend's mother wondering what on earth she could feed me. (Vegetarians were a bit of a novelty at the time.) When she offered up macaroni cheese I was delighted... until the plate arrived, containing something from a tin that was limp and soggy and barely recognisable as food. I was so used to my mum's homemade version that the idea of tinned pasta was just completely bewildering. I'd like to believe I ate it up without a word of complaint, but I'm not sure I had much tact as a kid, so I probably gave the game away with confusion and disappointment written all over my face.

This, however, is the real deal.

Although (shhh) I didn't actually use macaroni: I used fusilli bucati, a kind of spring-shaped hollow fusilli. The end result looks a bit like several macaronis strung together, and I think is more fun to eat.

Macaroni Cheese

Macaroni Cheese
Serves 2

200g dried pasta

For the cheese sauce:
20g (¾oz) butter
30g (1oz) flour
200ml (6½fl.oz, or about 3tbsp less than 1 cup) semi-skimmed milk
2tsp wholegrain mustard
black pepper
80g mature cheddar cheese

For the crunchy topping:
20g mature cheddar cheese
½ slice of bread (slightly stale is okay)
  1. Put the pasta on to boil, according to the packet instructions. (My dried pasta takes about 10 minutes to cook; if you're using fresh, it would be a lot quicker, so you will want to do this step later when the sauce is almost cooked.)
  2. Melt the butter in a deep saucepan, and add the flour together with a little milk to make a roux (with the consistency of a thick paste). Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add more milk a little at a time, whisking steadily to combine with the flour mixture and eliminate lumps.
  4. Bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce thickens.
  5. Stir in the mustard and pepper into the white sauce.
  6. Grate the cheese.
  7. Drain the cooked pasta, and stir into the sauce along with the grated cheese.
  8. If necessary, decant the mixture into an oven-proof dish. I skipped this step as my saucepan is oven-proof with metal handles - just be careful not to accidentally pick up the pan by the handle afterwards (a mistake I've made too many times!)
  9. Prepare the topping by grating the cheese and crumbling the bread into fine crumbs.
  10. Sprinkle the cheese and breadcrumbs evenly over the surface of the mixture.
  11. Grill for about five minutes, or until the cheese begins to bubble and brown. Serve immediately.


Joy Ludwig-McNutt said...

Mmm...U love homemade mac n cheese! I don’t know why so many of my American friends still love the orange stuff in the box. :-( I'll bookmark your recipe for after I've lost a few pounds in 2014!

Mike Harvey said...

I haven't had macaroni cheese since I was a kid. I may well blow the diet and give this a go.

Lavender and Lime ( said...

I didn't even know you could get mac and cheese from a tin :)

Allie BakingAMoment said...

I have never even heard of canned macaroni and cheese but it sounds like an abomination! Your version, however, looks to-die-for! Cheesy carbs, FTW!

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

I don't know how anyone could eat that mac and cheese from a tin. Bleh! I tried it once as a kid and it was disgusting. The pasta was like mush. On the other hand, we have your gorgeous homemade mac and cheese that sounds wonderful!

Rachel said...

The mere idea of tinned macaroni gives me the shudders - and it's really not hard to make, for heaven's sake!

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Love mac and cheese, and this looks so good!

Alecia said...

That looks really good! I love mac and cheese and trying new ways to create it. Stopping by from SITS Tribe.

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