Growing up in our house focused heavily around meal times and when mum replied to the daily, ‘What’s for tea, mum?’ with ‘Macaroni Cheese’ I’m sure the whole street could hear the cheers that went up. It was the 80’s and pasta was already a family favourite, I can remember sitting at the table in the kitchen waiting for mum to finish grilling the top to a crispy cheesy for us and wishing she would hurry up.
Once on the table I would happily squirt some tomato ketchup on top because that’s what we did back then. If any Italians are reading this I can feel your shock and only after spending years in your country and learning how you cook and eat can I see now the error of my ways, however, it was so good!
Funnily enough when I lived in Italy no one had heard of Macaroni Cheese, they had Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi which everyone agreed was most likely where our Macaroni Cheese came from. A quick check on Wikipedia has it that Macaroni Cheese is an English dish made of short pasta and a cheese sauce.
I wanted to make it for the girls and see if they had the same reaction to me all those years ago. They did. The success of macaroni cheese continues!
If you are introducing no meat nights into the family diet then this one is very popular and will fill them up. It’s a very simple recipe that requires baking in the oven and of course, it can be pimped in so many ways. You could add fried bacon lardons, or a mixture of vegetables cut up small.
I served it up in it’s 1980’s glory but I did not offer the squirt of ketchup on top even if dad and I did have a good sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper though ;)
- 300g macaroni
- 25g butter
- 25g plain flour
- 600 full fat milk
- 1 tbsp English mustard (optional)
- 225g Cheddar cheese grated
- Heat the oven to 200C Gas mark 6
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water.
- Melt 25g of the butter in a pan and add the flour, stir for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk whisk gently to remove any lumps that may form.
- Cook over a medium heat stirring continuously until thickened, season with salt and pepper. Stir in the mustard if using and two thirds of the grated Cheddar cheese, mix well together.
- Add the pasta and combine well, pour into a baking dish and scatter the remaining cheese on top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until golden
- Spice it up with chopped chilli peppers added to the mix.
- Mix up the cheeses and go for a quattro (4) formaggi (cheese)