You know, there’s just something so satisfying about mac and cheese. Back in university, kraft dinner was pretty much a weekly staple – the girls and I would make a whole box and share it among ourselves. I liked to jazz it up sometimes with green peas or carrots or broccoli… and on special occasions, fry it up with canned tuna. I know, sometimes I amaze myself thinking about how healthy I used to be (hah). So last night for dinner, backed by an intense craving (complete with my lactose intolerant self shaking head in the background), I made up some mac and cheese. Not the box kind, the prepared-the-cheese-sauce-from-scratch kind. And boy, was it ever oozy, gooey and oh so cheesy. It was almost too much… it was like two bites later and I’m wondering how many sun salutations it will take to work this off.
And then of course, in the spirit of overindulgence, I made a batch of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies to top it all off.
Here’s the recipe!
Mac & Cheese
What you need:
230g elbow macaroni
1 cup of broccoli, chopped*
1 cup of green peas
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable stock (depends on how thick you like the cheese mixture to be)
4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup parmesan
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red chilli flakes, to taste (optional)
2 cups breadcrumbs (make your own by putting day old white bread into a food processor)
Olive oil, for sprinkling
What to do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (202 degrees Celsius).
Cook elbow macaroni in a large pot of boiling water as per instructions on the packet. Once cooked, drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, you can blanch broccoli and peas in a pot of boiling water and process your bread crumbs if you are making your own.
In a large saucepan, fry the garlic in 2 tablespoons of butter until soft and fragrant. Whisk in the flour and milk, then cook until slightly thickened. Add three cups of the cheddar cheese and stir until it has melted into the mixture. Add the vegetable stock. Toss the cheese mixture with the cooked pasta, broccoli and peas, paprika, red chilli flakes (optional) and salt and pepper to taste. (I would go easy on the salt here, since you still have 2 cups of cheese to add). Stir the remaining 1 cup cheddar and 1 cup parmesan cheese into the pasta. Spoon into a large baking dish.
Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top of your pasta. Sprinkle or spray (my new favourite thing is putting olive oil in a spray bottle – so handy) the breadcrumbs with a light coat of olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
*You can sub out the broccoli and peas if you don’t like them, with anything from other vegetables like spinach or carrots to meats like sausage.