500g macaroni or other pasta shape
80g plain flour
2 pints milk
450g graded cheddar
100g grated Parmesan (optional)
Salt and pepper
Arriving at university at your chosen halls of residence can be an extremely daunting experience for any fresher. Worries of whether your new flatmates will like you rush through your head constantly before you’ve even stepped foot in your shared kitchen. There is a way of eradicating such panics from plaguing your day-to-day existence, in the form of cooking a wonderful meal to share.
You can cook on your own or bring in help from your newly found friends, sharing the stages of the recipe so that everyone feels like they have played some sort of part in your first fresher’s feast. Even the most inept of cooks can take some part, even if that does mean just laying the table. This way of breaking the ice with your peers saves the embarrassment of a disgusting drinking game that ends messily.
Mum’s cooking is exactly what everyone misses most when his or her university life begins, so why not try to recreate it despite only leaving home so recently. Macaroni cheese is a firm favourite that is simple to make, homely and something that we miss our mum rustling up for us. The recipe could not be any easier, and by the time of graduation you will know it off by heart as well as chucking in a few of your own additions.
So before washing and drying dishes become totally unheard of and the cooking facilities are still safe for human use, give this recipe a try.
1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes or according to pack instructions. I prefer my pasta al dente, so crop a minute or so off directions for pasta with a bite; drain well and set aside.
2. Melt the butter over a low to medium heat in a saucepan slightly larger than that used for the macaroni to make the combining of sauce and pasta easier. Add the flour gradually until combined completely with the butter. This creates what is known as a roux, which can be used as the base of many sauces as a thickening agent. Cook out for a few minutes to remove the floury taste from the sauce.
3. Then whisk in the milk, adding it to the pan a little at a time. Cook for 10-15 minutes to a thickened and smooth sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste
4. At the same time, preheat the grill to the hottest setting in order to give the dish a crispy top.
5. Remove the sauce from the heat, add the majority of both cheeses and stir until well combined and melted. If not using Parmesan, substitute for some extra cheddar.
6. Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well. Transfer to an ovenproof dish deep enough for the mixture.
7. Sprinkle over the leftover cheese and place the dish under grill. Cook until the cheese is melted thoroughly and bubbling on top. Serve straight away, piping hot with chips, garlic bread or even toast.
This quick and straightforward dinner serves 8 hungry students and leaves them no choice but to love you until the end of time. The recipe itself acts as a base for artistic creativity where your options for tweaks are pretty much unlimited. Try topping with bacon or tomato or even try adding a pinch of paprika or chilli to your sauce for a tiny bit of heat.