A killer mac 'n' cheese

macoroni cheese

Serves 8-10

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 45 g butter

  • 3 heaped tablespoons plain flour

  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

  • 6 bay leaves

  • 1 litre semi-skimmed milk

  • 600 g dried macaroni

  • 8 tomatoes

  • 150 g Cheddar cheese, freshly grated

  • 100 g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

  • a few sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked

  • 2 splashes Worcestershire sauce, optional

  • 1 grating nutmeg, optional

  • 3 big handfuls fresh breadcrumbs

  • olive oil

Get a large pan of salted water on the boil. Melt the butter in a large ovenproof saucepan over a low heat, then add the flour and turn the heat up to medium, stirring all the time, until you get a paste – this is your roux. Add all the sliced garlic – don't worry about the amount because each slice will caramelise like toffee in the roux. Keep cooking and stirring until golden and the garlic is nice and sticky. Add the bay leaves and slowly whisk in the milk a little at a time to ensure you get a nice smooth sauce. Bring the mixture to the boil, then leave it on a low heat to simmer and tick away, stirring occasionally. Preheat your oven to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7.



Add the pasta to the pan of boiling salted water and cook according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, roughly chop the tomatoes on a board and season them well with salt and pepper. Drain the pasta and add it immediately to the sauce. Give it a good stir and take the pan off the heat. Stir in your grated cheeses, chopped tomatoes and thyme leaves. A little Worcestershire sauce added now is nice, and so is a little grating or two of nutmeg. Now work on the flavour – taste it and season it until it's hitting the right spot. You want it to be slightly too wet because it will thicken up again in the oven, so add a splash of water if needed.



If you've made your sauce in an ovenproof casserole-type pan, leave everything in there; if not, transfer it to a deep earthenware dish. Bake it for 30 minutes in the oven, until golden, bubbling, crispy and delicious.



While it's cooking, put your breadcrumbs and thyme into a pan with a few drizzles of olive oil over a medium heat. Stir and toss the crumbs around until crunchy and golden all over. Remove from the heat and tip into a nice bowl. Serve your macaroni cheese in the centre of the table, with your bowl of crispy breadcrumbs for sprinkling over, and a lovely green salad.



Wine suggestion:

dry Italian white – a good Pinot Grigio

Nutritional Information

A killer mac 'n' cheese

With sweet tomatoes and a beautiful crunchy topping

0 foodies cooked this
My proper American-style mac and cheese is beautifully gooey and full-on, in-yer-face cheesy!
Serves 8-10
1h
Not too tricky
Method

'Mac 'n' cheese' is a classic American pasta dish – everyone loves it. Sometimes it's done so badly in the convenience area, it's almost become famous for being horrible, but when you do it properly, trust me, it's an absolute killer. Feel free to use any tubular pasta you want. I've made this dish my own by lightening it with sweet tomatoes and giving it some crunch with delicious breadcrumbs. Just you wait till you try it! This dish isn't going to win any prizes in the nutrition department, but you can, and should, balance it with a nice salad. If you only have it once in a while as a special treat, it'll do you no harm.

Get a large pan of salted water on the boil. Melt the butter in a large ovenproof saucepan over a low heat, then add the flour and turn the heat up to medium, stirring all the time, until you get a paste – this is your roux. Add all the sliced garlic – don't worry about the amount because each slice will caramelise like toffee in the roux. Keep cooking and stirring until golden and the garlic is nice and sticky. Add the bay leaves and slowly whisk in the milk a little at a time to ensure you get a nice smooth sauce. Bring the mixture to the boil, then leave it on a low heat to simmer and tick away, stirring occasionally. Preheat your oven to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7.

Add the pasta to the pan of boiling salted water and cook according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, roughly chop the tomatoes on a board and season them well with salt and pepper. Drain the pasta and add it immediately to the sauce. Give it a good stir and take the pan off the heat. Stir in your grated cheeses, chopped tomatoes and thyme leaves. A little Worcestershire sauce added now is nice, and so is a little grating or two of nutmeg. Now work on the flavour – taste it and season it until it's hitting the right spot. You want it to be slightly too wet because it will thicken up again in the oven, so add a splash of water if needed.

If you've made your sauce in an ovenproof casserole-type pan, leave everything in there; if not, transfer it to a deep earthenware dish. Bake it for 30 minutes in the oven, until golden, bubbling, crispy and delicious.

While it's cooking, put your breadcrumbs and thyme into a pan with a few drizzles of olive oil over a medium heat. Stir and toss the crumbs around until crunchy and golden all over. Remove from the heat and tip into a nice bowl. Serve your macaroni cheese in the centre of the table, with your bowl of crispy breadcrumbs for sprinkling over, and a lovely green salad.

Wine suggestion:
dry Italian white – a good Pinot Grigio

Whether it's delicious vegetarian or vegan recipes you're after, or ideas for gluten or dairy-free dishes, you'll find plenty here to inspire you. For more info on how we classify our lifestyle recipes please read our special diets fact sheet, or or for more information on how to plan your meals please see our special diets guidance.

Nutritional Information Amount per serving:

Calories

Calories are just a unit of energy. If you eat more than you use you can gain weight, or lose it if you don't eat enough. How much you need depends on your weight, gender and how active you are, but it's around 2,000 a day.

Carbs

Carbs are a great source of energy and, excluding foods such as potatoes, are made from grains - like bread, pasta and cereal. We all need carbs, but try to make them all wholegrain by sticking to brown bread, rice and pasta - they are much more nutritious.

Sugar

We all deserve a treat sometimes, but try to limit your sugar intake. Most of your sugar should come from raw fruit and milk, because they give us lots of nutrients too. Always check food labels so you know how much sugar you're eating.

Fat

We all need to eat a small amount of fat because it protects our organs and helps us grow. But we need to be careful about how much fat we eat and what kinds of fat, because in higher levels it's associated with weight gain, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Saturates

Saturated or "bad fats" are in beef, pork, chicken skin, butter, cream and cheese. Too much can be bad for our heart and cholesterol levels, but unsaturated or "good fats" in fish, nuts, avocados and some oils can help keep our hearts healthy if eaten in moderation.

Protein

Protein helps our muscles to grow and repair, as well as providing you with essential amino acids. When it comes to protein, try to eat leaner sources such as chicken and fish or non-meat sources such as eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu and pulses.
  • Calories 437
    22%
  • Carbs 53.6g
    21%
  • Sugar 8.3g 9%
  • Fat 15.2g 22%
  • Saturates 8.9g 45%
  • Protein 20.3g 45%
Of an adult's reference intake

BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH

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Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.

When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.

For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:

Marine Stewardship Council
http://www.msc.org/

Fish Online
http://www.fishonline.org

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