Cheat’s mac and cheese

We’ve all had those days where it’s cold, raining, and generally miserable, and all we want when we get home is some cheese smothered carbs (in my house, this is generally every day that ends with a y). I am a massive fan of good old fashioned mac and cheese, but I don’t always have the time, inclination or indeed, ingredients to whip up a roux, gradually add delicate rivers of milk and whisk whisk whisk until the mixture is perfectly smooth and lump free.  So you can imagine my immense delight when I realised that there was a quick fix. No more weighing flour, no more melting butter. Just simple, tasty perfection in 20 minutes.

The secret is in the cooking of the pasta – there’s no salted boiling water here, oh no. This recipe calls for you to cook the pasta in milk, allowing the starch to thicken the liquid and create a dense, creamy sauce which you then load up with cheesy goodness.

Ingredients (1-2 servings)

1 cup milk
1 cup pasta
1 cup cheese – I used cheddar, but whatever you have in the fridge will do
Salt/pepper/mustard/nutmeg to taste (add what you like, ignore what you don’t)

FYI – it is advisable to have extra milk in your fridge just in case. Pasta varies, and some varieties soak up more liquid than others. You may need to add more to achieve your preferred consistency.

Add pasta and milk to a pan, and place over a medium heat
Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring regular to prevent sticking
Turn heat to low and continue to cook (and stir!) until milk has thickened and pasta is cooked – this will take approximately 15 minutes, but there’s not harm in munching a test piece just to be sure. Add small amounts of extra milk if necessary.
Remove from the heat, add the cheese and stir until it melts.
If you’re a truly decadent diner like me, you can grate extra cheese over the top and grill for that classic crispy topping. I’m also sure that variations with onions, bacon, etc would be equally simple and equally delicious. Let me know what works for you!

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