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Spicy Mac ‘n’ Cheese

I love Macaroni Cheese. It is a family staple and we have it at least once a week. I even manage to make it slightly healthier by also adding something green, such as peas, green beans or spinach. The other day I achieved something I’ve been trying in different formats for a while – a spicy Mac ‘n’ cheese. Yum! There a picture below. Unfortunately it’s already half eaten but in our house that’s not surprising.

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So the basic recipe is this:

Ingredients (serves four hungry souls):

500g pack of macaroni
good chunk of butter/marge/olive spread (whatever you use!)
cornflour or plain flour
milk
cheese (about 250g)

Method:

First of all put the macaroni in to boil but don’t cook it completely. This is important. It needs to do more cooking in the oven so leaving it a little undercooked is crucial. About 5 minutes in add the peas or beans (or both as I did here) for another 3 minutes cooking. Don’t cook the spinach if you’re adding it, whether it’s frozen or fresh it will only need to cook in the oven.

Now the cheese sauce as my mum taught me. I don’t measure out the ingredients for the sauce and do it by eye instead so I can’t be too accurate I’m afraid. Melt some butter in a saucepan then add some flour/cornflour until the butter is soaked up and there’s a nice paste. Add your milk and then stir until the sauce starts to thicken. You should be able to run a wooden spoon around the base of the pan and the sauce will leave a wake behind as it separates but not for long. I use a whisk whilst the sauce thickens as this avoids lumps.
*Tip – should your sauce go lumpy add a couple of ice cubes to smooth it out.
Once you’ve achieved the desired consistency add some grated cheese of your choice and to your liking. I like a lot of cheese, some don’t.

It should be about time to drain your macaroni and greens so do that and leave to one side so the water can thoroughly drain away.

At this point I add the spice. Before I’ve tried raiding my herb cupboard but chilli powder wasn’t enough of a kick. For this particular triumph I used a Nando’s Hot Peri Peri sauce. I used about a table spoon (again this is an estimation). It blended really well into the cheese sauce.
Then put everything into a greased ovenproof dish, pasta and greens first and then sauce over the top. Finally some grated cheese on the top and into the oven at 180 degrees celsius it goes.

Cook for about 25/30 minutes until there’s a golden crust on top and then dig in.

Yum yum yum!