Lucy’s Not really Macaroni Cheese

I am very happy to share with you another guest post from the very lovely Lucy. If you follow Lucy on twitter ( @Lucy_SG ) you will know she makes delicious family food on a regular basis and most days will see a mouthwatering tweet with the hash tag #tweetwhatyoueat. Anyway today sees a really comforting, homely recipe that she has been making for a long time. Thanks Lucy for another delicious recipe which I will certainly be trying when I’m over the worst of this darned morning sickness!

Lucy’s Not really Macaroni Cheese

The title of this recipe is such because I can honestly say I have never in my life bought a packet of macaroni. So this recipe has only ever been made with fusilli or penne. Since having children, I always use wholewheat fusilli and there is really no difference between this and ordinary pasta. But you can pretty much use any pasta you like.

This is the very first recipe I ever attempted on my own. My mum is a wonderful, hearty home cook and when I was young, the kitchen was very much her domain so opportunities to cook for myself were scarce. She worked nine-to-five and my dad worked shifts that often meant, come the school holidays, he would emerge from his murky pit ravenously hungry at strange times of the day. He’d eat weird stuff like mahoosive serving bowls of cereal or entire packets of jumbo rice cakes. My mum had a tiny cupboard in the kitchen stuffed full of slightly crusty-round-the-edges 1970s cookbooks, so one day I pulled one out, found a recipe for macaroni cheese and made it for my dad. I remember hovering over the pans, checking the recipe every ten seconds, fretting and fussing. What if I destroy my mum’s pans? What if it’s a disaster? What if I’ve got all the weights wrong? But it worked! And he liked it! He said it was better than the pasta my mum made! This was my first experience of the utter pleasure to be had from other people enjoying my cooking.

My version has been tweaked a thousand times since my first attempt in my early teens. I know it by heart and often chop and change what I add to it but the basic recipe is still much the same.

Ingredients:
6oz pasta
1oz butter
1oz flour
½ pint milk
6oz strong cheddar, grated
1tsp English mustard
Pinch of pepper

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Method:
Stick the oven on to pre-heat at 200 degrees. Boil the kettle and pour it straight into a pan to cook the pasta. While the pasta is bubbling, get a larger pan and melt the butter on a medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and combine to make a dough. It won’t look pretty but squidge it around the pan a bit for a few seconds to cook.

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Gradually add the milk, each time combining it with the dough. Use a whisk if need be but keep working it so it has as few lumps as possible. Once it’s all combined, keep stirring it until it’s smooth and starts to thicken up.

Check your pasta. You do not want it to be fully cooked or it’ll end up pappy later on. At this point you can add peas, broccoli or cauliflower to the pan for the last few minutes of cooking if you feel like it.

When the sauce has thickened up sufficiently and you see one or two bubbles popping on the surface, remove it from the heat and add nearly all of the cheese.

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Keep some back for sprinkling on top. Stir it in until melted, then add the mustard and pepper. You don’t need any salt, as the cheese is already quite salty. At this stage, you could add some pre-cooked ham or bacon or some fried mushrooms. Or not. Up to you.

Drain the pasta/veg and tip into the pan with the cheese sauce. Give it a good stir and transfer the whole lot to an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheddar and some parmesan for extra crunchy bits. A little cayenne pepper on top or some slices of tomato are special if you’re feeling a bit fancypants.

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Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes or until the top is all crispy and scrumptious. Serve with garlic bread or a side salad. It will be a gazillion degrees when it comes out of the oven but it’s well worth burning your tongue on account of it’s amazing tastiness.

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5 thoughts on “Lucy’s Not really Macaroni Cheese

  1. wow, I love this recipe, I always wanna try new recipes for the usual Macaroni Cheese, I tried out some different ones and this will definitely be added in my list, thank you for the pictures step by step 😉 have a nice day !!

  2. Oh, this is such a lovely post. I will favourite this because, as you know, cooking is not a strength of mine.

    And hello Lucy’s Daddy. You must be ever so proud of Lucy. She’s a very lovely and wise girl.

  3. Hi, I’m Lucy’s Dad and I distinctly remember the occasion when she made me macaroni cheese. I believe she found the recipe in a moth eaten, loose paged recipe book that my wife Ann used in her domestic science lessons at school in the mid 60s. Lucy’s macaroni cheese was great. I’m not saying that to be kind, as its not in my nature.

    Lucy sent me some of her “Not Really Macaroni Cheese” yesterday. To be honest, when I saw it in the Tupperware box along with the garlic bread, it didn’t look good. However, once Ann had done her stuff it was really very good.

    When I read Lucy’s introduction to this recipe I must admit, it made me moist of eye. OK, I blubbed like a girlie. I’m very proud that all of my 3 children are avid cooks and regularly cook wholesome family meals from fresh. I would gladly kill for Connie’s Honey & Poppy Seed Cake. It must be in the “little genes” as both my Mum and Ann’s were professional cooks.

    Keep up the good work Lucy X

      • I’m not pregnant so can’t blame the hormones. Some would say, I look pregnant. No, many would say I look pregnant, but that’s what comes of being a foodie, winie, (is that a word?), surrounded by good cooks and having the metabolism and self control of a hippo.

        No complaints though. Happy days

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