Macaroni and cheese with crispy topping

17 Aug

Macaroni and cheese

Somebody gave me a copy of Annabel Karmel’s Baby and Toddler Meal Planner when Nova was born. Once I got past the freezing purées in ice cube tray stage, I moved onto her recipe for macaroni cheese. I’m pretty sure it’s the only recipe I ever made from it, and have long since given the book away.

The squirt of ketchup in the cheese sauce is something I wouldn’t have thought of myself, and the crispy topping is a nice touch. I’ve always made my macaroni cheese with a good, strong cheddar – and all the many children I’ve fed this dish to have happily scoffed it down. I eat mine with a  good dollop of Dijon mustard on the side.

Macaroni and cheese
(serves 4-6)

  • 500g macaroni (or other suitable pasta)
  • 3 Tb butter
  • 3 Tb flour
  • 2 cups (500ml) milk
  • 1 Tb ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I whizz up a couple of slices of bread in my mini chopper)
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and cook the pasta until just tender, then drain.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Stir in the flour to make a roux, then slowly add milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
  4. Continue stirring the sauce as it heats, until it is thick enough to coat a spoon (about ten minutes).
  5. Add the ketchup, then half the grated cheese, stirring until melted. Remove from the heat and season to taste.
  6. Toss the pasta in the cheese sauce, then spoon into a buttered casserole dish.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Scatter over the top of the pasta.
  8. Place under a heated grill until the crispy topping is golden brown.

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