Caribbean · Comfort Food · Pasta · Pies · Side Dishes · Vegetarian

Mac’n’Cheese Pie

Now, here is a family favourite that never gets old! It is meant to be eaten as a side dish with your meat and hard food, but in this house it is just as often eaten as a main course with a nice salad on the side.

It does take a bit of time to prepare and cook the Mac’n’Cheese Pie, but 45 minutes of the total time is the baking of the dish in the oven. And to be fair, everything can be prepared in advance so that all you need is to bake it off when it’s time to eat. Alternatively, you can pre-bake it and just heat it up before serving. Best of all – you can even make a big batch and put a few portions in the freezer for quick lunches or a day when there’s just no time to cook.

Please note, this recipe is listed as vegetarian, but it does have dairy products and eggs in it. If this is a no go for you, skip the eggs and substitute the dairy with dairy free alternatives.

This recipe makes 8 portions of Mac’n’Cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre (10dl) dried short cut macaroni
  • 6 tbsp butter, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 6 tbsp white flour
  • 1 litre (10dl) ┬ámilk
  • 2 dl cream
  • 1 tbsp mild mustard
  • (1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
  • 5+7dl cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 dl scallions (or onion), finely chopped
  • 1 dl peas (optional)
  • 1 dl chopped plum tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 2 dl sliced yellow and/or red peppers
  • 2 dl sweet corn
  • salt
  • pepper
  • seasoning of your choice
  • (fresh parsley, chopped (to garnish)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Boil the macaroni for 8 minutes in lightly salted water (it should be al dente but not crunchy inside) Rinse under cold water and drain.
  3. Melt 4 tbsp butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Add the cream and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring vigorously. Then gradually add the milk and keep whisking until the sauce boils and thickens.
  4. Stir in mustard, (cinnamon), salt and pepper to taste, and half the cheese, then remove from the heat. Keep stirring until the cheese has melted, then add the beaten eggs and fold them into the mixture until you have a smooth, well mixed thick sauce. Pour the sauce over the macaroni and fold together.
  5. Melt 2 tbsp butter in the frying pan and cook the vegetables on low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes. If you are using peas, add them after the rest of the veg have been cooked, then season the mixed veg to taste with salt, pepper and your favourite seasoning.
  6. Pour half of the mac’n’cheese into a greased ovenproof dish. Spread the veggie mix evenly over the base layer, and top with second layer of the remaining mac’n’cheese.
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese all over the top layer and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbling.
  8. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley before serving (optional)

Serve as a side dish with your Sunday roast, or as a vegetarian main course with a seasonal salad.

Comfort Food · Food for a Fiver · Pasta

Sticky Pea Soup

Sticky pea soup is not a soup, but a quick and cheap delicious pasta dish for the whole family. An old family recipe that I’ve altered a bit just to add a bit more umph to it. The kids called it kladdpasta (sticky pasta) when they were babies, and with the added Scandiribbean touch this dish is now aptly re-named sticky pea soup.

Ingredients:

  • 500 g wholemeal pasta
  • 5 dl double cream
  • 100g butter
  • 1 pkt smoked bacon or pancetta
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 dl frozen green peas
  • 2 eggs
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • chilli pepper or pepper sauce to taste
  • parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. start the pasta water and don’t forget to add salt
  2. put a knob of butter in a frying pan and turn up to mark 5
  3. grate (or finely chop) the onion and garlic and add to the pan
  4. slice the bacon or pancetta and add to the pan
  5. season with black pepper, chilli powder (or pepper sauce) and salt to taste
  6. toss the pasta into the now boiling water and give it a god stir
  7. when the onion and garlic looks translucent you add half of the cream and turn down the heat to mark 3
  8. mix the rest of the cream with the eggs and as much grated cheese as you like/can afford
  9. strain the pasta, but save a ladle of pasta water wich will help thickening the sauce (because of the starch from the pasta)
  10. mix it all together: first you need to mix in the egg cream and the saved pasta water in the sauce – give it a good stir and pour over the pasta