I’m pretty sure you don’t need me to sing the praises of macaroni cheese to convince you that it is A Good Thing. But here I go anyway: it’s warm, comforting, gooey, carby, a little salty and creamy with a crunch on top. Make it, enjoy it and go back for seconds.
Ingredients – serves 6
- 400g wholewheat macaroni
- 1 broccoli head – chopped
- 4 tbsp wholewheat plain flour
- 500ml milk
- 50g butter
- 230g mature cheddar – grated
- 230g squidgy goat’s cheese – roughly chopped or crumbled
- 50g walnut halves – roughly broken
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. After the pasta’s been boiling for a couple of minutes, add the broccoli.
- When the pasta is cooked, remove it from the heat, drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
- Make a roux for the sauce by melting the butter over a medium heat. Stir in the flour, Keep mixing with a wooden spoon until a paste is formed. This is the roux. Go you!
- Remove the roux from the heat and gradually pour in the milk, whisking all the while.
- Pop the sauce pan back over the heat, stirring continuously, to thicken the sauce.
- When the sauce is thick and smooth, add 130g of the grated cheddar and 130g of the chopped goat’s cheese.
- Continue to whisk until the cheese has completed melted into the sauce.
- Taste test time! Add more cheese and season with pepper if necessary.
- Pour the sauce onto the pasta and broccoli. Mix carefully, trying to avoid breaking up the pasta.
- Transfer the whole lot to a large oven proof dish and pop it into the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and add the rest of the grated cheddar and broken up goat’s cheese along with the walnuts.
- Bake the whole lot for another 20 minutes, checking that the walnuts don’t burn.
- Serve with a simple green salad.
- Experiment with cheese – I think it’s good to keep the standard mature cheddar but you could try adding some of your favourite blue or a bit of delicious Gruyère.
- Try out different veg – cauliflower works but I find that the spongey broccoli ‘leaves’ tend to soak up the cheese sauce a little better. Leeks would be good.
- Crunchy breadcrumbs – top with slightly stale breadcrumbs instead of walnuts for a different kind of crunch.