Feb 192012

It had been a rough week, and it was only Wednesday.  At times like these, I live by the concept of “comfort food”.  I’m not saying that it is wise, or healthy, to eat like this all the time.  But there is a reason we are drawn to rich, indulgent foods, and it’s not just biology.  It’s the memories they invoke – Nana or Mum’s cooking, overcast and cold days where a big bowl of pasta warmed you through, a time when calories and weight was irrelevant and you just ate because you enjoyed it and you were hungry.

Perhaps it is all in my head, but after I ate this meal I felt comforted.  It didn’t make my problems disappear, but it was a pleasant interlude.  And after all, isn’t that enough?

Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 4-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Allergy Milk
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Region American


  • 500g pasta (macaroni or other small type)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets (roughly chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup cheddar (grated)
  • 1 cup parmesan (grated)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs


1 Preheat oven to 200*.
2 Cook pasta on stove in boiling salted water according to directions.
3 Meanwhile, in a large heavy saucepan heat olive oil over a medium heat.
4 Add onions and cook until translucent.
5 Add garlic and diced broccoli and briefly fry, being careful not to burn.
6 Remove from pan and set aside.
7 In the same pan melt butter.
8 Add in flour and mustard and cook, stirring for about two minutes until flour mixture has darkened. Make sure there are no lumps!
9 Gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly. Add bay leaf.
10 Turn the heat to low and let simmer, stirring regularly, until the sauce has thickened.
11 Stir in 1 cup grated cheddar and 1/2 cup grated parmesan.
12 Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Remove bay leaf.
13 Add in onion, garlic and broccoli mixture.
14 Stir through pasta and pour into a greased baking dish.
15 Top with breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan.
16 Turn oven down to 180 and cook for 15-20 minutes until topping is browned and crunchy.
17 Serve with a side salad (because it's all about balance right?!)

  3 Responses to “Comfort food – Mac’n cheese”

  1. Yum! Kate and I were just talking about Mac & Cheese last week; I might be stealing this recipe :-)

    I also see we own the same set of two-handed oven mitts.

  2. That is definitely all that counts! Comfort food is needed sometimes. My preferred version comes in the form of a jar of nutella!

  3. I think bad weeks have definitely been going around of late! Good to see that you found something to console!


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