Mac and cheese is a perfect dish to serve at this time of year. It’s really easy to make, it’s warm, filling, comforting, and feels just a little bit naughty. I like mac and cheese, but I can’t eat much of it, I find it quite rich and sickly; and after a few mouthfuls, a bit boring. So I’ve given it a Pesky Recipes twist by introducing white wine and some carefully chosen herbs and spices into the mix to make every mouthful full of flavour, and to make it feel a bit more gown up. Also, because I’ve used a white wine and cream based sauce, there’s no need to make a roux. This makes it quicker than a traditional mac and cheese, uses a lot less dairy, and saves you from standing at the hob, constantly whisking for 10 mins. I’ve used cornflour as my thickening agent, instead of plain flour which you usually use when making a white sauce from a roux, as it’s much finer and so dissolves faster. If you’re worried about having lumps in your sauce though, sieve the flour into the mix to break up any lumps, make sure the mixture is bubbling and keep stirring briskly until it’s all gone.
This dish is lovely served with just a simple side salad, but it is fantastic with a fillet of oven baked salmon! Just lay a fillet of salmon onto a sheet of kitchen foil, sprinkle with lemon juice, olive oil and black pepper and seal the foil around it by scrunching the edges together. Then just pop it into the oven when you put the mac and cheese in and it’ll be ready in 20 mins. Give it a go, it’s absolutely delicious.
If you have any leftovers, store it in the fridge in an airtight container and reheat in the microwave.
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Ready in 40 mins (5 mins prep, 15 mins on the hob, 20 mins bake) – serves 2-4.
- 150g of macaroni
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped finely
- 150mls of double cream
- 150mls of white wine
- 1 heaped teaspoon of mustard powder
- A good pinch of basil
- A good pinch of black pepper
- A good pinch of nutmeg
- 1 heaped tablespoon of corn flour
- 200g of mature cheddar cheese
- A handful of chives, chopped
- Preheat oven to 200c / 180c fan / gas mark 6.
- Cook your macaroni according to the packet instructions, drain, and put to one side.
- Meanwhile, place a pan over a medium/high heat on the hob and add the oil and onion.
- Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook for another min. Don’t worry if the onion browns a bit. – Pic 1
- Add the cream and wine and mix well.
- Once the mixture is bubbling, turn the heat down slightly and simmer for 5 mins, stirring regularly. – Pic 2
- Add the mustard powder, basil, black pepper, nutmeg and corn flour.
- Stir continuously for a few mins until all the cornflour has dissolved and the mixture has thickened, then add the cheese. – Pic 3
- Once the cheese has melted, add the cooked macaroni and chives and mix well. – Pic 4
- Pour into an oven proof dish and spread out to make an even layer. – Pic 5
- Bake for 20 mins, or until bubbling and browning on top. – Pic 6
- Serve with a mixed leaf salad.