Easy does it Mac n’ Cheese
Posted on June 25, 2012
I’ve had quite an indulgent couple of weeks of eating, don’t get me wrong, I’m not normally the type of person that says no to alot of things, if anything, I don’t restrict my self from eating what I fancy. But I can tell when I’ve probably eaten a little too much than I need. Cheese is usually the culprit of this sort of feeling, snacking is the other. The bad kind of snacking. We’re talking little delights of deep fried Chinese food.
In the hope of not sounding too much like those people on shows such as, “Secret eaters” and “Supersize vs Superskinny, ” I am an emotional eater. I never lose my appetite no matter how I’m feeling. This is one thing my mother never needed to worry about as I was growing up, while other girls around me just stopped eating and worried about their size at the age of eleven, I was still looking forward to every meal of the day, and I was healthy. At this time I was Swimming, doing Karate and Netball most nights of the week, no wonder I had a strong appetite.
So by tiring myself out emotionally the past couple of weeks, I thought to myself, bring on the Mac n’ Cheese! I totally deserve it. The most memorable Mac n’ Cheese I have eaten, and I say this with a little bitterness, (I get very competitive when it comes to food.) Was round the household of Mr G’s, his dad makes the best I have ever tasted. He doesn’t make it with Macaroni pasta but with Conchiglie pasta, so the creamy cheesy goodness fills the shell of the pasta. Yum!
I’ve only made Mac n’ Cheese about six times in my life. Is this bad? Like I say, it’s an indulgent meal, and like any other pasta bake I make, it’s pretty hard to resist picking at it for the rest of the day. It’s a simple dish, but does take a lot of practice to get the consistency right. There’s always a chance you cook it for too long and it dries out, or it can be too greasy (a previous failure) or it comes out like scrambled egg! Yes it sounds ludicrous but this actually happened to me. Emotional times. But this one turned out alright, not great, not the finest, not as good as Mr G Senior, but still very tasty. And I thought I would pimp it out with a couple of your five a day too.
This is a great way to ease your kids into eating veg by the way, the cheese really helps!
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves
700 ml milk, I used Soya, but normal milk is best
1 tsp flaky sea salt
350g macaroni pasta, you can use whatever you want. I used a mix.
200g mature cheddar cheese
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp grated nutmeg
a handful of Cherry tomatoes
1 courgette sliced & diced
2 cups of sesame seeds (they add a little crunch)
Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta, while its heating up, start the sauce. Cut the Onion in half, squish some garlic and put into a saucepan with the milk and a bayleaf. Bring the milk to the boil over a medium heat, as soon as small bubbles round the side of the pan start to pop, take it off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes.
Add the salt to the water and tip in the pasta, cook until just before al dente and drain, reserve one cup of the pasta water to use if the pasta sticks together. Pour some cold water over the pasta to stop it cooking.
Preheat the oven to about 190 C/360 F, then grate the Cheddar and Parmesan.
Once the milk has infused, strain it through a sieve to catch the bay leaf, onion and garlic. Add the butter and sift in the flour.
Over a medium heat, stir, with a whisk until the sauce comes to the boil and is thickened and smooth. Stir in the mustard, nutmeg and 3/4 of the Cheddar and Parmesan into the sauce. This is where you die and go to heaven. Resist the cheese sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Tip the pasta into a baking dish and pour the sauce over the pasta and stir well. Now add the small chunks of courgettes and mix in well. Cut the Cherry tomatoes in half and add on top along with the sesame seeds and the last few sprinklings of cheese.
Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Enjoy your dinner and dread the temptation to pick.