Friday, 18 September 2015

The Classic that is Mac and Cheese

If there is a more satisfying comfort dish than mac and cheese I  don't know about it!

I can think of nothing better than curling up on a cold wet autumnal night with a big bowl of home made macaroni cheese. The best thing about this dish though is although it's great on it own it's also perfect with a salad or served as a side dish with grilled meat or fish - so it's actually a very versatile dish well worth making.

Here's my simple classic recipe - just a few simple steps.....

Recipe - Serves 4

1.5 pints half fat milk
an onion - peeled and cut in half
1 garlic clove - peeled
1 bay leaf
350g macaroni
50g butter
50g plain flour
200g mature cheddar - keep about 50g back for the top - grated
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper
a couple of sun blushed tomatoes - optional

Pre-heat oven to 190C/Gas 5

Start off by putting the milk on to boil in a pan, along with the onion, garlic and bay leaf. When is has reached simmering but not boiling point remove from the heat and cover. Leave to infuse for ten minutes.

Whilst the milk is infusing get your pasta cooking, follow the packet instructions and cook until the macaroni is al dente (i.e. soft with a little bite) Drain and then rinse with cold water to stop it sticking together.

Now make up your sauce. Start by making a roux. Melt the butter in a pan and when it starts to foam add the flour mix it together and then cook for one minute on a low heat stirring constantly.
Strain the milk and slowly start to add to your roux. Keep stirring until all the milk is incorporated and then continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes until you have a thick,smooth sauce.
Remove from the heat and add your mustard, 150g of the grated cheddar, salt and pepper. Stir until all the cheese has melted.

Mix the cheese sauce into the pasta and then transfer to a serving dish. Dot on your tomatoes if you choose and then top with the remaining cheddar cheese.

Pop into the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes until browned and bubbling. I like to cook mine in individual dishes because I like to scrape off the burnt cheesy bits around the edges!!

Now if your by yourself, spoon onto a warmed large plate, find your favourite book and snuggle up on the sofa with maybe a glass of wine to hand, and tuck in........

........ Perfect

Have a great weekend
Love Lizx

 Mac and Cheese