Mackin' Cheese

I love mac 'n' cheese! I especially like my version with a chilli kick and crispy onions...mmmmmm I'm so glad I've got some waiting to be eaten whilst I type this up.

This recipe is dedicated to the vegetarian community. I realised I've neglected the non-meat eaters except with the breakfast options so the next few recipes are dedicated to you wonderful people. The key thing to this recipe is the roux at the beginning...that's the butter and flour. I like to throw in the garlic before the flour because I just think it works that way. The caramelised onions at the end just whack up the flavour but if you're anything like my husband or sisters, food isn't food without meat so try some free-range bacon lardons at the end with the onions.

The recipe is a simple two person recipe. So many versions on the web cater to large portions and that for me equates to waste! My family has never really done well with cooking in bulk for the week. There's something delicious and enjoyable about fresh meals every mealtime but I appreciate that not everyone has the time or energy for that so hey do you!

Recipe - Serves 2-4

1 tsp salt

1ltr hot water

250g macaroni

15g butter

3 small cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp flour

1 bay leaf

350 ml milk

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp naga chilli powder(or any other chilli powder)

1 tsp black pepper

80g cheddar

50g parmesan

- Preheat the oven to 200°C.

- Bring the water to a boil and add the salt and macaroni to it cooking according to packet instructions less 2 minutes.

- Whilst the macaroni is boiling, place a medium pot on the hob and on a medium heat, melt the butter.

- Add the garlic to the butter and allow it to start to brown i.e. caramelise before adding the flour and stirring into a mushy paste.

- Add the bay leaf and then slowly stir in the milk and bring to a boil.

- Drain and add your cooked macaroni to the milky liquid then stir in the tomatoes, thyme, nutmeg, chilli and black pepper.

- Add all of the cheese and stir it all together until it's coated the macaroni completely. Your mixture should be a little wet but you can add a couple of tablespoons of water if you notice the cheese is still quite clumpy.

- Transfer the mix to an ovenproof dish and bake for 20 mins. After the time is up, leave it in the hot oven and turn your attention to the onions (or bacon- sorry vegetarians)

- Fry the onions until golden then drain on a kitchen towel.

- Scatter the onions over the mac 'n' cheese to serve.



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