My kids adore macaroni cheese and as a mother I love it- it’s a meal that’s done in the time it takes to cook the pasta. But it’s a bit stodgy and lacking in greenery isn’t it? I’ve used a Jamie Oliver variant of this recipe, but this one’s a lot easier and you can use most vegetables that are lying around. I find that the vegetables that work best with creamy, cheesy sauces are:
Basically vegetables that cook quickly and according to the list above, don’t have strong flavours.
I use broccoli a lot as I’ve always got it in the fridge and everyone likes it. Here’s what you need for 4 big eaters with at least leftovers for the kids the next day.
500g pasta – (we use rigatoni, but macaroni, fusili etc would all work)
a desert spoon of flour
300 ml milk
50-100g grated cheddar (maybe a bit more for the top?)
Get the kettle on and pour boiling water over the pasta (I usually need 2 kettlefuls for 500g- add a tsp salt and allow to boil gently.
Meanwhile chop the broccoli/cauliflower/spinach/courgette into small chunks so they cook quickly. Set aside.
When the pasta is a few minutes away from being ready- throw the veg- it will only take minutes to cook.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. You’re looking for a mixture that is not a liquid. but not a dough either- somewhere in between! Cook very gently, stirring constantly for a minute until the roux is lighter in colour and changes texture. Add the milk a third at a time and keep stirring- use a whisk if it gets lumpy (it always does!) Bring slowly to the boil- the sauce should be thicker now. Turn off heat and add grated cheese.
Drain the pasta and veg and pour over the cheese sauce. Serve straight from the pan or tip into a serving dish, scatter over more grated cheese and bung under the grill for a few minutes until bubbling and golden.
Always a winner.