Saturday 26 January 2013

Creamy & Comforting Macaroni Blue Cheese

Ugh! I am so sick and fed up with all the snow! In Sheffield, I live on the top of a hill which I have discovered means you are very open and exposed to the elements, especially snow. Come Monday, I will have been surrounded by snow permanently for 2 whole weeks. Snow lasting that long is not fun and means my dead-end-road estate where I live has turned into an ice rink. Yesterday was the first time in 9 days that I have been able to get my car out of its parking spot. Not only is it a long way down a dead end road (meaning no gritters have been along it and no through traffic) but it’s also on a steep slope. Every time I’ve attempted to move my car it just skidded and wheel spun. It’s not been a matter of driving slowly, I couldn’t actually get up the incline. I was so overjoyed at being able to drive it free yesterday, and not have to use public transport to get to work. My joy didn’t last as I came out of work yesterday evening to find more snow falling – more?!? This morning I woke to find we’d had another 4 inches overnight – ARGH! Thankfully it’s a lot warmer today, a tropical 2C, meaning the snow is beginning to melt – hurrah!

Anyway…all this cold and snowy weather has meant I have been in the mood for comfort food this week. Macaroni cheese is one dish that definitely makes the grade. However, it can sometimes take rather a long time to make, not ideal when you get in cold, tired and soggy. This macaroni cheese takes only minutes to put together, as bypassed making a proper cheesy béchamel sauce and instead used a quick dust with flour, add milk and stir in lots of gooey cheese method.

I discovered an unopened wedge of blue stilton in the fridge and decided to make a blue cheese sauce for my macaroni cheese. Stilton always makes me think of Christmas so I decided to pair it with a few sprouts I had (bought recently, not leftover from Christmas!) and a few other veg. These were simply sautéed in a pan rather than boiling them, which I think gives them a lovely flavour and helps retain some of their freshness and crunch.

From start to finish it was only 15 minutes before I was happily tucking in. I ended up making rather a mountain of it with intentions to save a bit back for later, but I devouring the lot. The tang and saltiness from the stilton went so well with the sweet shallots and sautéed sprouts, with everything being coated in the creamy thick tangy sauce. Delicious and just what’s needed on a cold snowy day. I’ve given only a vague recipe below, as it’s more a case of following a general method rather than weighing out ingredients.

Anyone else have any comforting meals they always crave on cold snowy days?

Creamy & Comforting Macaroni Blue Cheese
Gluten free macaroni pasta*
5 sprouts per person
1 tbsp frozen peas or broad beans per person
1 shallot per person (use an onion for more than 3)
2 large florets cauliflower per person
½ tbsp sunflower oil
½ tsp French mustard
2 tsp gluten free flour (cornflour, gf mix, anything goes)
Freshly ground pepper
20g stilton cheese per person
100ml milk per person

Heat a large pan of water and add the macaroni pasta. Stir and cook according to packet instructions (I always give mine a couple of minutes less than stated, especially for gluten free pasta)
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with the oil.
Roughly dice and shallot and add to the pan to soften.
Remove the outer leaves from the sprouts, if necessary, and then slice into quarters. Cut down through the stalk each time, so that the pieces remain intact.
Add the sprouts to the pan with the shallot.
Chop the cauliflower into small bites size pieces and add to the pan.
Cook until everything is softened and starting to take on a little colour.
Add the peas or broad beans when there is only one minute left on the pasta.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, leaving a small amount of the cooking water behind.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables in the pan and stir to evenly coat. Add the milk and mustard and stir quickly so the flour combines with the milk to produce a sauce.
Crumble in the blue cheese and stir gently to combine. Allow to simmer for 1 minute until the sauce is thickened.
Season with pepper, you won’t need salt as the cheese is very salty.
Add your cooked pasta to the pan, along with 1 tbsp of the reserved cooking water.
Stir to coat everything evenly and allow to bubble until thickened or add a little extra milk if too thick.
Serve straight away with a little more blue cheese crumbled on top.
Eat and enjoy.
Recipe easily scaled up to feed more people

Note: * I’ve never found gluten free macaroni pasta in the shops, but you can but it online. Otherwise you can use penne or any other shape you like.


Kath said...

"I ended up making rather a mountain of it with intentions to save a bit back for later, but I devouring the lot."

LOL you're not the only one m'dear!

Johanna GGG said...

That sounds delicious. Love all your vegies in it. I love soup on cold winter days. But I find it hard to imagine all your snow and not even getting the car out - makes me thankful it never snows in Melbourne - hope the weather is kinder to you next week

The Caked Crusader said...

We've thawed completely in Essex and it's raining now. Hope you get back to normal soon

Love the look of your blue cheese sauce - nice strong flavour I bet!

Nic said...

Hopefully you are snow free now, at least until the next cold snap comes along in Feb.
Looks like one of those dishes you could get away with serving to the kids,they might not notice the veges! Lovely.

Caroline said...

That looks great - perfect for snowy weather. I really like the idea of adding sprouts to it too - I enjoy broccoli with macaroni cheese - it's nice to have something fresh to cut the lovely cheesiness!

Hope your snow goes soon - my aunt lives in Sheffield and I am always in awe of how steep her road is - I can't imagine how terrifying it must be in the snow too.

frost said...

that looks really appetizing=)

Banessa's Delight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Banessa's Delight said...

Perfect dish for a cold wintery day! I would love to make this! Keep Warm....spring is around the corner!