The other day, my eldest son was supposed to make macaroni cheese in his food tech lesson. According to his version of events, the teacher told him to just throw all the ingredients together in a pan and the result was raw pasta and a coagulated burnt mixture at the bottom of the pan. I am sure that the teacher did not tell him to do this, but she had a class of 30+ teens to deal with in her class, so may not have had the time to spend teaching him how to do it properly.
I decided to teach him how to do it properly, making a rue for a cheese sauce and the order in which you add the ingredients. I think it is important to get children involved in cooking as it is an important life skill for them to learn. I suppose there are many variations on how to macaroni cheese, but this is how I have taught my son to make it using just pasta and a basic cheese sauce. Here is a simple recipe for macaroni cheese.
Ingredients for Macaroni Cheese
- 18 oz/ 500 g dried pasta (macaroni or a similar variety of pasta)
- 1 oz/ 25 g butter
- 1 oz/ 25 g plain flour
- 3 oz/ 80 g cheese for the sauce
- 2 oz/ 50g cheese for the topping
- 600 ml/ 1-pint milk
- 2 tsp English mustard (optional)
- White pepper and salt
How to Make Macaroni Cheese
- Measure your ingredients first and preheat the oven to 180C/ gas mark 4.
- Cook the pasta in a saucepan according to pack instructions. I would remove a few minutes from the cooking time so it is al dente as the pasta will continue to cook in the cheese sauce.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over a low heat.
- Sieve the flour into the melted butter and stir.
- Cook for two minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk a little at a time continuously stirring until you have created a smooth sauce.
- Season with the salt and white pepper, add the mustard (optional) and stir through.
- Simmer gently over a low heat for approximately eight minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.
- Drain the pasta when cooked and transfer to either a large ovenproof dish or individual ovenproof dishes.
- Using a ladle, spoon over the cheese sauce evenly.
- Sprinkle your remaining cheese over the top of the dishes.
- Transfer to the oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is golden and bubbling.
- If you have cooked one large macaroni cheese, spoon onto plates. If you have cooked individual portions, transfer the individual bowls to plates.
- Serve with salad, vegetables, or garlic bread.