I quite like this particular recipe because it's quite simple and roughly as healthy as being hit by a bus.
300g Macaroni Pasta
50g Plain Flour
50g Salted Butter
100g Grated Cheddar cheese
100g Grated Gruyere cheese
5-10g Cubed Bavarian/Smoked cheese
1-2 Chopped Red Onions
1-2 Grated cloves of Garlic
Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper
a handful of chopped Broccoli
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 and grease a large ovenproof dish of some description.
The recipe I use suggests heating the milk as it makes the white sauce less likely to clump. You can do this in a saucepan for a couple of minutes on a low heat. You want it so it's warm and slightly steaming, but not so much that the milk boils. Pour it into a jug and save it for later.
Making the Dish:
1. Fry the onions and garlic in a pan with a little olive oil. Once they're nice and brown, remove from the pan and set aside for later.
2. Cook the macaroni as it describes on the packet. Usually you can put it on to cook and then make the white sauce.
The dish is based around a white sauce. Firstly you'll have to make a Roux, which is a thick, dry butter/flour paste.
3. Add the butter to a large saucepan and melt.
4. Add the flour to the butter and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour has disappeared and you're left with a paste. It's very important to cook the roux for a minute or so to avoid making a floury white sauce.
The mixture should become a lighter colour as it cooks. If it gets darker, your heat is too high.
5. Carefully add 1/4 of the milk to your roux and stir. Once you're confident the mixture has been blended, add the next quarter and switch to a whisk. Continue this process until all the milk has been added and all the ingredients have been blended.
6. Season your sauce to taste with the salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
7. Raise the heat slightly on the sauce and add the cheeses a handful at a time, making sure the last batch has melted before adding the next.
You'll probably notice that your sauce will begin to thicken quite a lot.
The thickness of the sauce (and the resulting macaroni cheese) will depend on how much you reduce your sauce at this point. I like to reduce it so it's the consistency of cream, but if you prefer runnier cheese, I don't think it will kill you.
8. Once the white sauce is ready, stir in your fried onions, garlic and raw broccoli.
9. Drain the macaroni and pour into the ovenproof dish. Ladle your sauce over the pasta and mix well. Grate some cheese over the top.
10. Put the dish in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and has turned golden brown.
Hopefully everything has gone according to plan and now you have a hearty macaroni cheese with a variety of interesting colours, flavours and textures.