Jamie Oliver Inspired Mac 'n' Cheese
If there is one series of cookbooks that I can read from cover to cover, day after day, just for fun, it would be Jamie Oliver's cookbooks. I am such a fan of the design of the pages and photography, the fact that the food is delicious is really just a bonus. To celebrate the end of winter break and the beginning of the spring semester, my sister and I decided to make one of her favourite meals of all time, mac 'n' cheese. The Jamie Oliver recipe is set for 8-10 people, so this version, for 2, is more of an estimate and test to my elementary school math skills. For this recipe, you'll need:
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 15 g butter
- 1 heaped tablespoon flour
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cup milk
- 200 g macaroni
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 50 g cheddar cheese, grated
- 30 g parmesan cheese, grated
1. Set a large pot of water to boil. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat, then add the flour and turn the heat up to medium, stirring all the time, until you get a paste, this is your roux.
2. Add all the sliced garlic. Keeping cooking and stirring until golden and caramelized and the garlic is nice and sticky. Add the bay leaves and slowly whisk in the milk a little at a time to ensure you get a nice smooth sauce. Bring the mixture to the boil, then leave it on a low heat to simmer, stirring occasionally.
And this is where it all started to go south. I'm not sure if this had something to do with the fact that I used rice milk instead of dairy milk, but the roux seized up almost immediately after I added the rice milk in. After some frantic googling and stirring, my sister and I saved the sauce by adding a little more butter, bringing it up to a high heat and adding about a half cup of water.
In the midst of this chaos and frantic whisking, the pot handle came unscrewed from the pot. Persistence and a desire to not have to start again was really what made this mac 'n' cheese happen.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, roughly chop the tomatoes and grate cheeses. Drain the pasta and add it immediately to the sauce. Take off heat and stir in grated cheeses, chopped tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Transfer to an oven-proof casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes in the over. I saved some of the cheese to sprinkle on top so it would turn nice and golden brown and crispy.
My sister and I cooked up some sausages and mixed veggies, while the mac 'n' cheese was cooking, to serve on the side.
I'm pretty sure this will be the only mac 'n' cheese I make from now on. The garlic and tomatoes are my favourite addition to this classic dish because they compliment the flavours of the cheddar and parmesan cheeses so well. Baking the extra cheese on top was also one of the greatest ideas ever, adding some texture to an otherwise one note dish.
What do you like to add to your mac 'n' cheese to mix up the flavours?