February 18, 2012

Maggie's Macaroni and Cheese

Some time ago I read a book called "Recipes My Mother Cooked: 100 Home-Cooked Recipes From The Nation's Favourite Foodies" by Philippa Sandall, and was delighted to find that Maggie Beer had contributed to the selection of recipes. Amongst some other wonderful offerings, Maggie had contributed her recipe for Macaroni Cheese. She explained in the book that this was her modified version of her mother's more modest recipe.

Later, while watching The Cook and The Chef, I watched Maggie cook this recipe and was absolutely sold on the fact that I must try cooking this meal for myself. It looked delicious.

So I visited The Cook and The Chef website and downloaded the recipe. The original recipe says that it serves 12-16 people, and Maggie did say that she cooks this recipe when she has a lot of mouths to feed. Because we don't have quite as many to feed here, I scaled this recipe down to feed 4-6 people. I have marked these quantity adjustments in bold on the recipe below.

Cheese Macaroni
(From The Cook and The Chef - Maggie Beer www.abc.net.au/tv/cookandchef/)

Serves 12-16

400g large macaroni 115g
1.2kg pumpkin, peeled and cut into small chunks 350g
15g fresh rosemary, roughly chopped 4g
1/4 cup verjuice 1 1/2 Tbs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (evoo) 35ml
250g Persian fetta 70g
300g grated cheddar 85g
10g sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 3g

Cheese Sauce
160g unsalted butter 45g
160g plain flour 45g
2 litres milk 570ml
1 tablespoon grated nutmeg 1 tsp
300g grated Parmesan 85g
2 teaspoon salt 1/2 tsp
Freshly ground black pepper

Line a roasting tray with baking paper, add the pumpkin, chopped rosemary, sea salt and black pepper, drizzle with a little evoo and verjuice. Roast at 200C for 30 minutes until the pumpkin starts to colour and is tender.

Cheese Sauce
In a medium sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until nut brown. Add the flour, mixing well to combine. Remove from the heat and pour the milk in slowly, using a whisk to avoid lumps. Place back on the heat and continue to stir until the sauce starts to thicken, cooking for a few more minutes. When the sauce coats the back of a spoon, add the nutmeg and stir in the grated parmesan, stirring continuously until the cheese has melted. Taste the sauce and add a little salt if necessary - be careful to only add salt after you've added the cheese as often the cheese is all the salt you'll need. Directly cover the top of the sauce with plastic wrap and set aside until needed.

Cook the macaroni in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente (15-20 minutes), drain and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add the cheese sauce to the macaroni and mix through well, then add the pumpkin and toss through gently. Break up the Persian fetta and add this to the macaroni too. Pour the macaroni mixture into an oven proof dish, top with the grated cheddar and bake at 200C (given that every oven is different it could take between 10 and 20 minutes).

Here is the direct link to the Cheese Macaroni recipe from The Cook and The Chef website.

All I can say is...give it a go!!! Pictures just don't do it justice...

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese is comfort food at its best...and you just can't beat a good Mac N Cheese. It is a meal that I simply adore.

A Mac N Cheese serving

This recipe is pure heaven. It is rich and gooey with a flavour that just works. I was sceptical on the addition of Persian fetta...but really it is just wonderful. The roast pumpkin is also a fantastic touch.

My photography in this post really doesn't do it justice. I did mean to take step-by-step photos, but I got so caught up in cooking the dish I simply forgot.

It's a joy to cook...and to eat!!!

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