I am not averse to a massive bowl of mac and cheese for dinner, but it took a while to convince my family that sometimes this is OK: it doesn’t always have to be rice and curry, or curry and rice. I don’t mean the kind that comes out of a can and isn’t sure if it is mac and cheese or baby custard mixed with overcooked pasta – it doesn’t have to be like a school dinner nightmare. Proper home-cooked mac and cheese is warm, hearty and delicious. This recipe, with mustard and kale to add interest, makes for a delicious one-pot meal.
– 500g pasta
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– 2 tbsp unsalted butter
– 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
– 1 tsp English mustard powder
– 3 tbsp plain flour
– 250ml whole milk
– 250ml single cream
– 250g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
– a large handful of kale leaves, chopped
– 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
– freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C.
2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, and cook the pasta for 3 minutes less than the recommended time on the packet. Drain and add the oil, stirring it through. This will stop the pasta sticking together.
3. Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat, then add the garlic and mustard powder and cook for 1 minute.
4. Stir in the flour, and cook for another minute, mixing all the time.
5. Add the milk and the cream, and whisk until the sauce is smooth and lump-free. Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens.
6. Take the pan off the heat, add the grated Cheddar cheese and leave it to melt, stirring occasionally.
7. Now tip the pasta and kale into an ovenproof dish, and pour over the sauce. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden.
8. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and a good grind of black pepper to serve.
With chapters ranging from ‘Lazy Sunday Mornings’ to ‘Midnight Feasts’, ‘Snacks and Sharing’ to ‘Dessert for Dinner’, there’s a dish for any time of the day, for all of the family. Nadiya offers innovative twists on traditional classics and the perfect recipe for those staple meals and bakes, from fish finger butties to churros french toast.