18:09 | Posted by Nim Headland | Category

Everything Pasta

This is my Mum's classic dressed-up version of Mac and cheese. So named because you can pretty much chuck anything in it. It's unbelievably good, and so versatile! It's a great midweek supper, quick and easy and uses up all the strange odds and ends of things that might be hanging around in your fridge. Put in what you think you'd like and what you have, but to get you inspired I can tell you what we used:

A rasher of bacon, grilled and cut into strips
A leftover sausage from breakfast, cut into chunks
A few chunks of chorizo
2 mushrooms cut into chunks
Some halved cherry tomatoes
Steamed broccoli florets
Sliced onion
A few sliced olives

So firstly you want to prepare your 'everything' - steam any veggies, cook off your bacon etc. Preheat your oven to about 180oc and then put some penne, rigatoni or fusilli pasta on to boil and make a cheese sauce.
This is a Delia cheese sauce recipe which works beautifully here. But feel free to use up bits of cheese that might be lurking in the fridge. If you think it'll go, chuck it in!

2oz/50g mature Cheddar, grated
1oz/25g parmesan finely grated
1 pint/570ml milk
1½oz/40g plain flour
1½oz/40g butter
pinch of cayenne pepper
a little freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Place the milk, flour, butter and cayenne pepper into a medium saucepan and place it over a gentle heat. Then, using a balloon whisk, begin to whisk while bringing it to a gentle simmer. Whisk continually until you have a smooth, glossy sauce, and simmer very gently forminutes. Then add the cheeses and whisk again, allowing them to melt. Then season with salt, freshly milled black pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add your 'everything'. Give it a good mix before stirring in the cheese sauce. Grate some extra cheddar for the top. Maybe a bit of mozzarella too if you have it? Sprinkle it over the dish and place in a hot preheated oven (180-ish) for about 20 minutes or until the cheese topping is melting and golden and starting to go crispy... mmm.


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