As I hinted on my previous post, I am staying with friends with kids for a few days. So child-friendliness of the dishes I cook is important at the moment. Here is one of my favourites for moments like these - macaroni cheese. Very popular with my little nephews, as well as with friends longing for comfort food. I recently witnessed a rather huge young friend of mine (we're talking about almost 2 metres and 100 kilos here) eat a whole lot almost on his own!
It's a doddle to make, and you can also use up any leftover cooked pasta, slices of ham, chunks of cheese. Quite unusally for macaroni cheese, it uses eggs in the mixture, making the dish a bit creamier and lighter in texture in my opinion.
Macaroni Cheese with Mince and Eggs
400 grams short pasta
350 grams good quality lean mince of your choice
1 to 2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp oil
0.5 to 1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika powder
0.5 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil or oregano
600 ml milk
2 large eggs
0.5 tsp salt
200 ml grated cheese
fresh dill or parsley, chopped (optional)
Cook the pasta al dente, drain.
Fry the onion in oil over moderate heat for 7-10 minutes, add garlic and fry for a few more minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
Add the mince and fry, stirring frequently, until the mince is browned.
Season with salt, paprika powder and dried herbs.
Take a large oven dish, oil or butter it lightly. Add the pasta and fried mince into the dish and mix.
Combine milk, eggs and salt, add finely chopped herbes, if using. Pour over the pasta and mince.
Scatter cheese on top.
Bake at the lower part of a 200C oven until the eggy mixture has set and the dish is golden brown and slightly crisp on top.
Serve with salad (see here for a simple beetroot salad and crunchy carrot salad).