For me, “Macaroni Cheese” is comfort food. It is easy to dress up, or have plain. But cooked well, can be lifted to gourmet level. This is my favourite version of Macaroni Cheese (which, by the way, I don’t use Macaroni for – I use Fusilli or Spirals, cos they hold the sauce better). I love that I can serve an entire meal, in one dish, that uses 2 pots and a serving/baking dish, and my family love it. I love that this meal, can be gluten free, or dairy free, vegetarian or vegan, all depending on the ingredients that you use, but which don’t change the dish.
1 onion, finely diced
3 hugely heaped dessertspoons of plain flour (this works out to be about 3/4 C)
2 C milk
2 C grated cheese
half a packet of pasta (I use Spirals or Fusilli)
half a head of broccoli, cut into florets (cut each floret in half if they are quite big)
4 slices of shaved ham, sliced up finely
1 can whole kernal corn, drained
1 – 2 tomatoes, finely sliced
extra 1/2 – 1 C grated cheese
about 1/2 C dried breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 180 deg, and make sure that there is sufficient space for the top rack to fit your desired dish.
Put the water on to boil for your pasta, using a large pot. Here is a tip: put about 1 t of salt in the water = it makes the water boil faster and flavours the pasta as well.
When the water boils, add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes. At the end of this time, add the broccoli florets and continue to cook for another 5 – 7 minutes. Then remove from heat.
In another pot, melt the butter and when foaming, add the finely diced onion.
Cook until transparent, then add half the flour, stirring until well combined, then the rest of the flour (can add this in two parts if desired), and mix well, until all flour is well combined.
Cook the butter/onion/flour mixture (stirring regularly) for about 5 minutes, to cook out the flour.
Add the milk, half a cup at a time, mixing into the flour well, and cooking until each part thickens up again.
When the last of the milk has been added, and the mixture has thickened for the last time, add the grated cheese, shredded ham, and the drained whole kernal corn. Mix well.
Drain the pasta and broccoli. Tip back into the pot. Add the cheesey sauce and gently mix well. Tip into the dish for the oven, top with the sliced tomato, extra grated cheese, and breadcrumbs.
Put into the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, then serve.