Macaroni & Cheese is definitely the working mother’s stand by meal. 80% of the mother’s I know, who work every day, make this at least once a week. It’s easy, cheap and I’ve never come across a child that doesn’t eat Mac ‘n Cheese. My problem is that most of the time it’s floury, tasteless and unless you add about a cup of tomato sauce to it, you might as well be eating cardboard. And if you want to it to actually taste of something you have to add a ton of cheese to it which not only ups the price, but also the fat content.
I’ve found that adding a few different cheeses usually adds loads of flavour and you don’t have to use too much. I try to use the best strong cheese I can find. Extra Mature cheddar, gorgonzola, goat’s cheese and gruyere are all good. For this I used a fabulous Goat’s Cheddar I bought at the Women’s show this weekend. I also used some pecorino and a tiny bit of gorgonzola. Oh and the Mozzarella on top, so actually this is a 4-cheese mac ‘n cheese. Chunks of Feta or Haloumi would also be super yum in this.
I know some people like adding bacon, mince and vegetables to mac ‘n cheese ,but for me, that just becomes a pasta bake. Mac ‘n cheese to me is just that. Sometimes I’ll add some sliced tomatoes or some caramelised onion but that’s about it. Serve with a mixed salad and some garlic bread and it’s transformed from an easy weekday dish into a filling and satisfying meal.
Serves 8 (Freeze the left overs)
1kg (2.2 pounds) Macaroni, cooked
150g (5.29 ounces) Butter/ Margarine
1 1/5 – 2 cups flour
1l milk mixed with 500ml (16.91 fluid ounces) chicken stock
2-3 cups grated cheese of your choice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste
1 – 1 1/5 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until a roux (thick paste-like mixture) is formed. Allow to cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly start adding the milk mixture and whisk continuously. Allow to gently simmer until the sauce is thick and the flour-y taste has disappeared.
- Take off the heat and add the cheeses and spices. Allow the cheese to melt and check the seasoning. Don’t add salt before you’ve tasted as the cheese might have been salty enough.
- Mix the sauce with the cooked macaroni and transfer to a suitable baking dish. Scatter with the grated mozzarella and bake for 15-20 minutes at 180°C (356 degrees Fahrenheit) until the cheese is golden.
- Allow to stand for 5 minutes and serve.