Pasta and cheese what’s not to love about this macaroni cheese bake. Warm feeling and oh so comforting to eat, at the table or on the sofa snuggled under a blanket. Served with a few slices of your favourite toast makes happy memories.
Once you have mastered the basic white sauce you can use it for so many things. Once you add the cheese to the white sauce it can be put on any dish not only your macaroni cheese bake. The same cheese sauce can be used to top your lasagne and no you don’t need a jar of Dolimio
The Pasta For The Macaroni Cheese Bake
Well of course it has to be the macaroni pasta. Small little tubes that trap all that gorgeous cheese sauce inside, perfect. You could go wild and use another type of pasta if your not a purist, heaven forbid. Actually there are plenty of tube shaped pasta that you could use.
Rigatoni, penne, mostaccioli and tufoli are just a few examples that you could use to make you macaroni cheese bake. What ever you use make sure its something that will grab onto the cheese sauce. I would not recommend making you own pasta for this dish.
The Cheese Sauce
There are several methods to making a cheese sauce. There is the all in one method, personally I have never used this but my future ex did. Then there is the classic method of making the cheese sauce. Which ever you choose I would recommend that you use at least 2 different types of cheese in there.
Using different cheese seems to add depth of flavour to cheese sauce. I like to use a cheap creamy cheese to make the sauce all gooey and runny. Then I add a mature cheese to give it some depth and then I use the rind from parmesan cheese as well. You can add a teaspoon of mustard sauce to you cheese sauce if you wish, it gives it a crisp clean taste and cuts through the creaminess of the sauce.
40g/1½ Plain Flour
600ml/1 pint 1½fl oz Milk
250g/9oz Cheddar (mature), grated
1/2 teaspoon of mustard (optional)
- COOK THE MACARONI IN A LARGE SAUCEPAN OF BOILING SALTED WATER FOR 8–10 MINUTES. DRAIN WELL AND SET ASIDE.
- MELT THE BUTTER OVER A MEDIUM HEAT IN A SAUCEPAN. ADD THE FLOUR AND STIR TO FORM A ROUX, COOKING FOR A FEW MINUTES.
- GRADUALLY WHISK IN THE MILK, A LITTLE AT A TIME. COOK FOR 10–15 MINUTES TO A THICKENED AND SMOOTH SAUCE.
- PREHEAT THE GRILL IF YOU ARE EATING THIS STRAIGHT AWAY. (YOU CAN ALWAYS SAVE FOR LATER AND POP IT IN THE OVEN)
- REMOVE THE SAUCE FROM THE HOB, ADD 175G/6OZ OF THE CHEESE AND STIR UNTIL IT IS WELL COMBINED AND MELTED.
- ADD THE MACARONI TO THE SAUCE AND MIX WELL. TRANSFER TO A DEEP SIZED OVENPROOF DISH
- SPRINKLE OVER THE REMAINING CHEDDAR AND THE PARMESAN AND PLACE THE DISH UNDER THE HOT GRILL
- COOK UNTIL THE CHEESE IS BROWNED AND BUBBLING
- SERVE WITH TOAST
- If cooking in the oven from frozen put the temp down to 160 to cook it a little longer so if defrost thoroughly. If not frozen 180 to 200 and 20 to 30 minutes should be good
Macaroni Cheese Bake Extras
Yes I did call it a macaroni cheese bake because I always make mine earlier in the day when the kids are at school. In fact I usually make enough for 2 or 3 portions. I eat one in the day after the kids come home by sticking in the oven just before the school run. When I get back I have enough time to get the toast on and then serve dinner. The other portions go into the freezer and warm up perfectly from frozen
The extra’s well I do love to add chorizo it adds so much flavour to the dish and lifts it to a new level. I have been know to add sautéed mushrooms in there as well. Another great tip is to add breadcrumbs to the cheese topping before grilling. This gives it a wonderful texture. I have been know to chop up tomatoes and throw them in the macaroni cheese bake before baking.