3 red peppers
1 pint milk
500g dried macaroni
1 tsp paprika (I used smoked, use what you want)
2 tbsp flour
300g grated cheddar
200g grated manchego
2 tbsps olive oil
Heat the oven to 180C (fan), put the peppers on a tray and put them in the oven for 45 minutes, until charring and soft.
Remove the peppers and put them in a plastic bag, tie a knot in the top. Leave them to cool.
Take out the peppers, de-core and de-seed them then peel the skins off - it should be very easy to separate. Incidentally you can do the peppers well ahead of time if you want.
In a deep jug, pour the milk and add 2 of the peppers. Use a stick blender to cream these together until smooth.
Cook your macaroni until nearly cooked - you want some bite left. Drain. Turn your grill on high
While the macaroni is cooking, make a cheese sauce: Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add paprika and flour to make a roux. Cook it out for a minute or so. Use the pepper-milk to make a sauce by adding it gradually and whisking in between times to keep it smooth. It should thicken as heated.
Add 3/4 of the cheeses to the sauce, stir to melt it. Add the drained macaroni and stir to combine.
Pour the macaroni and sauce into a shallow oven-proof dish and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. Put under the grill for about 10 minutes until the cheeses melt and go golden, ideally a little caramelisation too.
Serve and enjoy. The recipe says 4 but I reckon you could easily feed 6 with these qantities
So the Eldest is off back to the North in a week, taking the MOB kitchen veggie book with her no doubt. In an heroic effort to find out what is good for it then I decided to cook another of their dishes tonight. Mac'n'cheese. Its one of those dishes that seems to divide people - I have no history with it. I have presumably eaten it at some point in the past and thought how horrible it was, because let's face it there are many ways something as seemingly simple as this could go wrong. Macaroni boiled to death, cloying sauce, insipid cheese, no topping. It could be horrible.
I am pleased to report gentle reader that this recipe is not those things. If you pay a little attention to detail then this makes a warm comforting bowlful which actually has some real flavour and texture. It was really very good, and a surprise to me and the Offspring.
I have reproduced quantities here as specified in the book - but be aware I made 2/3 of this for 4 people and still had some left. I mean half a kilogramme of cheese for 4 people, same of pasta? OK if you are kicking off a heavy night, or have just played rugby then these quantities might seem ok, but otherwisemaybe use some common sense and scale it a bit.
The roast red peppers may seem like a time-wasting faff, but they lend a depth to the sauce which is welcome. As to paprika, I used hot smoked and the resulting dish had a chilli bite which I liked. If you are more old school, use sweet paprika. The original recipe is also (and this is true throughout the book) frustratingly vague on some things that their target audience will probably be very unsure of, which seems bizarre. I have tried to be more specific.