Rob’s Recipe of the Week: Mac’n’cheese with a Canalside twist

September 9, 2021 by General Administrator

I’ve selected this week’s recipe because whenever I search for green bean ideas they’re heavily based around the idea of a healthy side dish, which is great… except sometimes all I want is a big cheesy bowl of pasta with a faint nod at healthiness. So here we have it, green bean mac’n’cheese.

Green bean mac’n’cheese
~200g green beans (or runner beans or anything similar)
300g dried macaroni
60g butter, plus a few extra knobs
4 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp English mustard powder
600ml whole milk
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Sea salt, to taste
100g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
100g Lancashire cheese, crumbled
100g Cheshire cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tbsp thyme leaves

Bring a large pan of well-salted water to the boil. Add the green beans and cook for 4–5 minutes until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in a bowl of ice-cold water to prevent them from cooking any further. Drain well.
Tip the macaroni into the boiling salted water and cook until al dente, according to packet instructions. Drain, refresh under cold, running water and drain again. Mix the macaroni, beans and a few knobs of butter together in a large bowl.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Heat the 60g butter in a pan, and stir in the flour and mustard powder to make a roux. Gradually add the milk, beating continuously with a balloon whisk until the mixture is smooth. Slowly bring to the boil over a low heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens. Season well with cayenne pepper and sea salt to taste.

Mix the three cheeses together and stir half into the white sauce. Mix well until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth again. Add the macaroni and beans to the sauce and mix well to coat. Spread the mixture into a large, wide gratin dish.

Combine the remaining cheeses with the breadcrumbs and thyme leaves. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and bean mixture. Bake for about 15–20 minutes until the topping is golden and crisp. Serve immediately.

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