Since my original macaroni and cheese recipe I have experienced great success and great failure in the mac and cheese department. Whilst it is such an easy meal to make, sometimes I leave the preparation too late and then end up trying to whisk, chop and drain things at the same time and so the sauce ends up a bit over-cooked and grainy. The key is to not over-complicate the dish and remember not to over-cook the white sauce, and I think I’m on the right path to becoming the English master of Macaroni cheese. I originally meant for this to a stove-top version of the recipe but it turned out too soupy. However, with a bit of baking it reduced, kept its creamy texture and turned out great.
Whilst Mac and Cheese is one of the most decadent meals ever, you can health it up with some broccoli and a nice green salad.
What you need: Pasta (I used a combo of shells and penne), about half/three quarters of a 2 pint bottle of milk (use less if you don’t want to bake it), three and a half table spoons of butter, three table spoons of flower, lots of mature cheddar cheese, chopped broccoli florets, finely chopped mushrooms, olive oil, one vegetarian stock cube, one teaspoon of mustard, a few handfuls of bread crumbs, two tea spoons of garlic (see below), two large pots, a frying pan and a whisk
Spices: Salt, pepper
Note: Whilst I am sure fresh garlic would work just as well or better, this little tub of garlic made cooking a lot easier and I really recommend it if you cannot be bothered chopping and preparing the garlic from scratch:
1: Chop the broccoli into small florets and finely chop the mushrooms. Heat two tea spoons of garlic in olive oil in the frying pan until fragrant, season with salt and pepper and then sauté the broccoli and mushrooms for a few minutes until the mushrooms are browned and the broccoli is shiny and a brighter shade of green. Then set to one side to be heated a bit later.
2:Add one vegetarian stock cube to a sauce pan and pour over boiling water, when the cube has dissolved add pasta and cook per packet instructions
3: In a large sauce pan heat three and a half table spoons of butter on a medium heat. When it has melted almost all the way add three table spoons of flour and whisk for a few minutes until the roux is a nice golden colour, then turn to a lower heat and slowly whisk in a bit of milk at a time. Remember to whisk pretty much constantly whilst doing this to make sure the sauce is smooth, and add one tea spoon of mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper
4: Turn to the lowest heat whilst keeping your cooker on and add the cheese whilst continuing to whisk until the cheese is melted. Then add the vegetables and pasta to the source and stir until everything is covered
5: You can just leave it there, but if you would like to bake it just tip the mac and cheese into a baking tray. Don’t worry if the sauce seems quite runny and soupy, it will reduce very quickly in the oven! Sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake for 15-25 minutes until golden. Add some home made garlic bread (coming soon!) and green salad. Enjoy!