It’s been a busy week. Christmas things to organise. Trying to get the house nice. Finishing up at work for the year. The week flew by.
Meals during the week were a bit hit and miss. One night we even had sandwiches at 9pm 😀
I did make Myf and monty’s favourite too – macaroni cheese with baked tomato on top. Again, this is just how I do it. There are as many macaroni cheese recipes as they are cooks. This recipe was developed to take into account our tastes: not too much cheese, onion sauteed in the butter when making the sauce, sliced tomato baked on the top, and a very long bake time so the macaroni almost burns and gets crusty around the edges and the tomato dries out a bit.
Let me tell you what I did:
I cooked and then drained about 2 big cupfulls of spiral noodles. I just left them in the colander while I made the sauce.
We always have onion in our mac ‘n’ cheese. This time it was finely chopped red onion. Sometimes it’s the green and white of a spring onion. Other times it’s chopped chives. I saute the onion in the butter I have melted to make the cheese sauce. I would guess I used about 2 tablespoons of butter. The onion was cooked until it was soft but not coloured.
I then added about 2 tablespoons of plain, white flour.
Some salt, a grate of nutmeg and some grinds of black pepper went in too.
I stirred this all together really well and then cooked the paste or roux for a couple of minutes, stirring it all the time. This cooking kind of cooks the flour, so your finished sauce doesn’t have the taste of raw flour in it.
Whenever I can get it, I buy this milk:
We first tried it at the Wayville farmer’s market. Milk from Jersey cows has what is called the A2 gene. This is as opposed to the A1 gene, found in other dairy cow milk. You can read about the A2 gene and it’s purported health benefits here. The health claims remain somewhat controversial. We drink this milk because it is delicious! Unhomogenized, it has a richer, creamier taste and colour than “regular” milk.
I poured about 600mls of the delicious Fleurieu Premium milk into my cooked flour and onion paste and mixed it well. The heat was on low, and it stayed on low until I was certain all the flour/onion paste and milk had been amalgamated and there were no lumps.
Some people heat the milk before adding it. I figure that’a just another jug to wash up…
However, if I ever do turn into somone who isn’t basically lazy, I would add a fresh bayleaf to the milk while it was heating.
I turned the heat up and kept stirring until the sauce thickened and came to the boil. Then I put the cheese in and kept stirring until the cheese melted. You can see by the quantity I used that we don’t use as much cheese as some would. How much you use is entirely your choice. I used a supermarket cheddar.
I don’t bother with grating the cheese. It doesn’t take that much longer to melt and it’s one less thing to wash up 🙂 Once it had come to the boil I turned the heat off. In went the cooked macaroni for a good stir around.
I greased my cast iron baking dish with cooking spray and tipped the macaroni cheese into it. Sliced tomatoes, sprinkled with salt and pepper went on top.
The finished macaroni cheese went into a 350F oven for 1 hour. I know it seems like a long time, but like I said, we like it well baked 🙂
The finished macaroni cheese!
We ate it with a very simple lettuce and ranch dressing salad.