Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My take on Mac and Cheese

It has been a while since i have wanted to make Mac and Cheese. It tops a lot of people's comfort food list. When i googled the recipe, i found that it was heavy on white flour and cheese. So much cheese, butter and AP flour, i did not really want to use. So i did not try it out.
Yesterday, i felt like it should be pasta day and had only spaghetti at home . Did not really feel like eating it since only last week sometime, lunch was spaghetti. So off i went to buy something else. My eyes fell upon a packet of Bambino Macaroni. I remembered the first time i had cooked it and it had turned all soggy and broken and the end result was a mush. Never experimented with it after that.  I thought i should try it one more time and picked it up. And woah! it is cheap! Just 16 bucks for a 250 gm packet. It was while billing that i was reminded of Mac and Cheese again. So after some initial research and modifications to recipes found from foodgawker, i made Mac and Cheese the first time around. It's not the traditional recipe. It's made my style- light and simple. Here's how:

Preparation Time- 20 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Difficulty- Medium


11/2  cups Macaroni , i used Bambino- half of the 250 gms packet.
Vegetables of your choice - 3/4 cup, i just used finely chopped carrots and capsicum
3-4 pods of garlic
1 tbsp AP Flour
1 tbsp cheese, I used the Brittania Mexican Pepper spread :)
1/2 cup Milk
Salt and chilli flakes to taste
1/2 tsp Oregano, optional
1 tbsp olive oil


Boil 2 cups of water with some salt and oil. Add the macaroni to it and cook it according to the packet instructions. Bambino gets done in 6-7 minutes. I added my chopped carrots also to it to allow it to cook.
Drain the pasta. Save some of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a pan, heat olive oil. Add finely chopped garlic and capsicum. Toss it around until the garlic starts giving out its flavor.
Now simply add to this a table spoonful of flour. Whisk it around until it slightly changes color. At this point, add the milk. Whisk the mixture well without any lumps.
Now add to it a tablespoon of the cheese spread. Alternatively, you could use cheddar cheese and sprinle some extra on top of the macaroni too. But i chose to use what i had and use it frugally.
Turn off the heat.
Add some chilli flakes and oregano to this. Be careful while seasoning with salt since the macaroni was already boiled in salt water, there is salt in the cheese. Add in salt carefully. Mix in the boiled mac and vegetables.
Grease a baking pan with olive oil. Add the mixture into the dish.

Place it in a preheated oven at 170 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. I waited until the top started browning.
Alternatively, you could spoon out the mixture into individual ramekins or a muffin tray rather than a cake tin and then bake it. It will come out like a macaroni cup cake :). I just spooned out the macaroni from the baking dish and served it hot!

It is crunchy on top, but soft on the inner layers, more like regular pasta.
You can add more of the white sauce to fill up all the gaps between the macaroni and bake slightly longer to get a more cohesive mac and cheese mixture out of the oven! Bon Appetit! 

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