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Baked Mac and Cheese

Macaroni cheese or simply mac 'n' cheese! Easy, tasty and filling midweek dinner idea, this is a real crowd-pleaser.

Cook ahead - you can make it in the morning and cook later in the day, just remember to bring it to room temperature before bunging it in the oven. 

Macaroni cheese out of the oven

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Mac and Cheese

Of course, you don't have to add tomato but I quite like the look of it. Strangely, Jamie Oliver adds a spoonful of mango chutney to his ultimate macaroni cheese recipe - now that's just weird!

Adding Worcester sauce and mustard gives it a nice tang, so don't leave those out - trust me on this. 

Baked Mac and Cheese

Best Pasta for Mac and Cheese?

Macaroni, also known as elbow pasta, but really any short pasta will do just fine.

Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese?

Extra matured Cheddar for big flavour, and a combo of gruyere and/or mozzarella cheese. Any cheese that melts well will work.

What can I add to Macaroni Cheese?

You can add cooked cauliflower if you wish, and doing so will stretch to serve more people, although you might need a bit more sauce. Some other ideas include crispy bacon pieces, chorizo, cooked chicken, pretty much whatever you fancy really.

Toppings can include crispy bacon, toasted breadcrumbs or easier still panko bread crumbs to get a lovely crunchy topping. 

Macaroni Cheese Recipe

Ingredients in this recipe:

  • Macaroni
  • Plain flour (all-purpose)
  • Unsalted butter
  • Whole milk
  • Cheese - I used a mixture of four kinds of cheese Mozzarella, Mild Cheddar, Double Gloucester and Red Leicester, but it's entirely up to you.
  • Parmesan
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • English Mustard
  • Salt - just a pinch
  • Tomato

Macaroni Cheese Sauce

Is really easy to make, just remember to cook the flour in the butter (see recipe for details) otherwise your sauce will taste floury and will be lumpy.

Can you Freeze Mac and Cheese?

Yes, you can, cool pasta then mix with the sauce. Cool then freeze and defrost thoroughly and bring to room temperature before baking. If you're adding a crumb topping I'd add that on the day and not before freezing.

How to Make Macaroni Cheese

mac,macaroni,cheese,recipe,how,make,sauce
main,dinner,pasta
English
Yield: 2-3
Author: Jan Bennett
Macaroni Cheese

Macaroni Cheese

My dish was 8x8 inches (20x20cm) Serve with a nice green salad.
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 40 Min

Ingredients

  • 230g Macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons Plain flour (all-purpose)
  • 25g Unsalted butter
  • 450ml whole milk (full fat)
  • 180g Four cheese mix (mozzarella, Cheddar, double Gloucester and red Leicester, or just cheddar - plus a little more for sprinkling on top
  • Parmesan - just enough to sprinkle over the top
  • a splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of English Mustard
  • Salt - to taste
  • 1 large Tomato

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F or Gas 6
  1. Start by making the cheese sauce.
  2. In a medium-sized non-stick saucepan add the butter and melt over a low heat.
  3. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook the flour in the butter for a few minutes - this is important because the finished sauce will taste floury, and it will be lumpy.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the milk a little at a time, stirring well. 
  5. Put the sauce back on the heat and allow to cook, whilst still stirring - a wooden spoon is best for this.
  6. Now take a balloon whisk and whisk until you have a lovely smooth sauce.
  7. Add the cheese and stir. Once the cheese has melted you might find you need to add a little of the reserved pasta water if it looks too thick.
  8. Add the Worcester sauce and the mustard, stir and have a taste. Add a pinch of salt to taste.  
  9. Pour the sauce over the macaroni and give it a mix to coat.
  10. Top with the sliced tomato, sprinkle over a little more cheese and some Parmesan.
  11. Cover with foil and pop onto the middle shelf of your preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes.
  12. Remove the foil and pop back to cook for a further 5 minutes or so by which time the top should be golden and bubbling.
  13. Serve right away.
Cook the macaroni
  1. Add the macaroni to a large saucepan of salted boiling water and cook for about 9 minutes until 'almost' cooked.
  2. Remove just 100ml of the salty pasta water and set aside.
  3. Drain the macaroni well and put it into your dish.
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Jan