Saturday, 24 April 2010

Mellow with Mac 'n Cheese

Comfort food. Everybody has one. Or two or three. Or as in my case, many. One of them, however, is Macaroni and Cheese. Sorry, not the Kraft kind, though. Slightly too, hmmm, alarming shade of orangey yellow that is, for my taste. And I'm generally not one for the metallic industrialized taste either. And while I'm fully aware that for some people, French mustard or 'strange' cheeses have no place in this dish, I say don't knock it until you've tried it. So here goes.
Take some tomatoes. I know, now you're asking 'What do tomatoes have to do in Mac 'n Cheese?' Well, unless you're eating yours straight from the saucepan, it makes a nice change to cover your dish with oven roasted tomatoes. So, take the tomatoes and cut into thick slices. Spread on a dish, pour on some olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and freshly ground pepper, add some herbs if you wish and stick in the oven at around 200C for 20 mins. 

 While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the mac 'n cheese. Cook the macaroni in a separate pan. Chop one onion. Yes, yes, I hear you. But I like onions, in everything. If you don't, just skip this. Melt about 150 grams of butter in a thick bottomed saucepan, and when the butter is melted, add flour while whisking it with a hand whisk to avoid lumps and bumps in your sauce. Use enough flour to get a thick consistency. Next, add slightly less than a liter of milk. By the way, this makes rather a large pot of sauce, feel free to divide the amounts. Let simmer on slow heat. Add a smidgen of salt and white pepper, and around two teaspoons of Dijon mustard. Trust me. It works. While the sauce is simmering, start adding the cheese. I use a mixture of whatever happens to be in the fridge. Cheddar is lovely, smoked cheddar even better. Emmenthal works well, as does gruyere. Mozzarella makes for a creamy, dreamy sauce but has a very mild flavor so use only as a part of a mixture. When the cheese has melted pour the sauce on the mac and mix well.

Take the tomatoes out from the oven and transfer on top of the macaroni and cheese. Put back in the oven for about 10 minutes. Enjoy. And as I said before, you can leave out the tomato part and the putting in the oven part and just serve, or even eat, straight from the saucepan. Lovely either way.

I know, mine could've used a little less oven time. :) 

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