Typical mac & cheese with a twist

Here’s another recipe of the mac & cheese classic. It was interesting to make since the original recipe in the BBC Food said it fed 4 people. I needed it to feed 14!!! The only solution was to: triple the recipe. Yikes.

This one though, I wasn’t too worried about what the calorie count would come out to be. It is your typical béchamel with grated cheese sauce, and the twist is thinly sliced raw leeks mixed in. Considering it says it goes in the oven only 15 minutes at the end, and really it doesn’t need much, I’d want the leeks sautéed at least 5 minutes before mixing them in. Or then baking it longer but covered so it doesn’t brown too soon on the top.

As I was looking at the original recipe I thought to myself, that this feeds 4 very hungry people, but oh well. They might have the recipe right, so let’s trust them. Made the pasta times 3, made the sauce, times 3. Ended up not using at least a quarter of the pasta, maybe even more, but all the sauce and all the cheese. Hm….

(it was a very busy dinner with many, many hungry people so quite unfortunately I don’t have a photo, and it’s the one thing I should’ve had a photo of, so you can see the size of the baking dish and to see that there aren’t that many leftovers… It was a hit!)

I am going to give you the regular BBC Food recipe and not the tripled out because I doubt you will be making this often for 14 people. If you do want to triple it, make the sauce times 3, but the pasta times 2.

It says to infuse the milk with a clove studded onion – I didn’t have cloves per se, so I used my 4 spice mix (ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon): I added a dash or two in the milk and let it infuse. It worked like a charm.

Ingredients:

700 ml milk

1 small onion, studded with 2 cloves (or a dash of ground cloves)

50 gr butter

50 gr flour

175 grated cheese (recipe uses cheddar, I used a mix of emmental, gouda and mimolette)

400 gr pasta, cooked less than al dente, it’ll continue cooking at the end

1 large leek, white part only chopped

salt and pepper to taste

50 gr parmesan (I used grans padano and parmesan mix)

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 430F/220C.

2. Place the milk and the clove-studded onion (or the cloves) in a pan on medium heat and let it come to a boil. Switch off and leave it on the stove for the flavours to infuse the milk.

3. In another pan melt the butter and add the flour and cook for a few minutes to cook out the flour flavour. Do this on medium heat and don’t let it burn.

4. Gradually add the infused milk to the roux and whisk until it thickens. Simmer for a few minutes, continuing to whisk slowly.

5. Spread the cooked pasta and chopped leeks in the baking dish.

6. Right before pouring the sauce over the pasta, add the grated cheese to the béchamel and stir. Taste and add salt and pepper according to your taste.

7. Pour over the pasta, stir, and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese on top.

8. Bake for 15 minutes, until brown on top. (or covered, for 20 minutes, then uncover, raise in the oven, and let it brown for 5 minutes on top, that way the leeks will cook a bit more)

If you don’t care how many calories are in here, if it’s really about a comfort meal, this is winning. Enjoy.

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