Roasted Garlic Macaroni Cheese

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Cheese, glorious cheese. I find it very difficult to accept when someone tells me they don’t like cheese. How can you not?! All good foods have cheese in. ALL OF THEM. Pizza for example. Classic cheese vessel. Maybe it’s because for so many years I was denied the right to cheese for a decade of my life, (yes, thats right. It is a persons right to have access to cheese) due to my dairy product allergy and I now feel the need to make up for lost time. Maybe I just have good tastebuds. Who knows. All I know is you can’t go wrong with topping something off with cheese. I have a few rules when it comes to cheese though, one of them being, it has to be mature cheddar. Anything milder is pointless. You may as well use plastic cheese!

So everybody loves halloumi. I am surprised I haven’t done a post about that yet. I think another cheese everyone loves is Boursin. It’s a creamy soft cheese flavoured with garlic and herbs mmmmm. What if I were to say to you, that I added some of that delicious, cheesey goodness to macaroni cheese along with some roasted garlic? INSANE, right? 
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This macaroni cheese is pure indulgence. Perfect for a cold wintery evening. My Mum makes this white sauce and spinach fusili pasta bake thing that is delicious. So I thought I would add some spinach (also I had frozen spinach that needed eating). As for the mushrooms, well we all know how well they go with garlic. My Mum also makes THE BEST macaroni cheese. It’s all down to how she prepares the milk. She brings it to the boil with onion and spices, which are removed before the sauce is made. Delicious. So I also used this method for making my sauce.
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A couple of things about the recipe before we begin. Macaroni cheese is up there with my favourite foods, however having leftovers that last more than 3 days makes my taste buds sad. I refuse to throw food away so I often end up making something on a Sunday night and having it for dinner every day until the Thursday/ Friday after. Anyway, what I am trying to say is I halved the quantities stated below. With the extra garlic I made some garlic bread, the recipe for which I have also included ) Also, the spinach and mushrooms are optional. But if you want to be strong like Popeye, I wouldn’t leave the spinach out. 

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I also like cheesey jokes. A quality which I inherited from my Dad, so you can thank him for the jokes I will share with you.

Q: What cheese do you use to hide a horse? 
 


A) MASCARPONE!


Recipe

This recipe was inspired by Annie’s Eats recipe.
Serves: 4

Prep time: 1½ hrs (including garlic roasting and milk infusing time)
Cooking time: 15-20 mins
Skill Level: You can do it Brucey! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSB_HA9GdDE
 
Equipment:
Oven proof dish 
Oven tray

2 x Saucepans (1 medium, 1 large)
Frying Pan
Foil

Ingredients for Macaroni Cheese:
710 ml milk (I used semi-skimmed, full fat is probably better)
½ onion (peeled  but not chopped)
2 bay leaves
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp thyme
peppercorns (whole)
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2  bulb of garlic 
1 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp plain flour
225g mature cheddar (grated)
115g Boursin (divided)
¼ tsp dried parsley
¼ tsp cayenne pepepr
340g dry pasta (I used wholemeal penne)
salt and pepper
Optional:
500g Mushrooms (cut)
500g Spinach
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1 loaf ciabatta

1 tbsp unsalted butter (softened)

Note: If you are NOT making garlic bread, 1 bulb + a few cloves of garlic is sufficient!

Method

Garlic Roasting
  1. Preheat oven to 180 c. Remove outer skin of both bulbs of garlic, making sure to keep the bulbs whole. 
  2. Slice of the top of the bulb so the cloves are exposed at the top but the bulb is still whole. 
  3. Rub the bulbs with a bit of olive oil and loosely wrap, each bulb individually, in foil. 
  4. Place in oven and bake for 50 mins or until garlic can be squeezed out of skin. Be careful! Make sure garlic has cooled before trying those or you will burn your fingers!
  5. Squeeze all the garlic out of the skins and mash until a paste has formed. 
  6. Split the garlic paste into two halves. Put on half aside for the sauce.
  7. Split the second half in half again. One half is to cook the spinach and mushrooms with, the other half is for the garlic bread.

You should now have three lots of garlic. One for the sauce, one for the mushrooms & spinach and one for the garlic bread.

 
Sauce
  1. To begin making the sauce infuse the milk by; pouring the milk into a saucepan, adding the onion, bay leaves, nutmeg and peppercorns.
  2. Bring to boil over a low heat.   Be careful to not over boil because nobody likes the taste of over boiled milk!
  3. Remove from heat and leave the milk to rest as it is for at least 10-15mins
  4. Whilst the milk is cooling, chop mushrooms and spinach (if necessary)
  5. In a frying pan, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over a medium heat before adding, mushrooms and roasted garlic (remember it is one of the smaller portions you want to be using.
  6. Sauté mushrooms. Once they begin shrinking in size, add the spinach and continue to cook. (You may have to reduce the heat if the mushrooms begin to burn)
  7. Continue to sautéing until the spinach has wilted and there is no water left in the frying pan.
  8. Remove from heat and set aside.
  9. Strain the milk so it is ready for use.
  10. Increase oven temperature to 200 c. 
  11. In the medium saucepan, melt butter over a medium-high heat.
  12. Whisk in flour and roasted garlic paste (largest amount left) and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Should take about 2 minutes 
  13. Whisk in the milk, dried parsley and cayenne pepper.
  14. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce JUST BEGINS to boil (a low boil not a furious bursting bubbles boil) and thickens.
  15. Remove pan from heat and stir in cheddar and about  ¾ of the Boursin. Keep stirring until cheese has completely melted.
  16. Season to taste.
  17. Bring water in large saucepan to boil and cook pasta as directed on packet. 

Garlic Bread
  1. Whilst the pasta cooks, combine remaining roasted garlic paste with softened butter.
  2. Cut ciabatta in half and spread garlic butter paste on each side. Be generous!

Putting it all together
  1. Once cooked, drain pasta and return to saucepan.
  2. Pour sauce into the large saucepan and mix the pasta and sauce together until pasta is evenly coated.
  3. Spread mushroom and spinach mix on the bottom of the oven proof dish.
  4. Pour pasta and sauce mix on top.
  5. Top with remaining Boursin.
  6. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes. Do not remove from oven yet!
  7. Put garlic bread in oven and cook both pasta and garlic bread for a further 5- 10minutes or until pasta is browned on top and bubbling and garlic bread is crispy round the edges. 
DIG IN!


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KB x

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