404. vegetable cheese macaroni
down memory lane
Years back, Mombasa Club, famously known as Chini Club, served a rich cheesy baked macaroni as a main dish. The choice for vegetarians back then was limited to vegetable curry and baked macaroni. I would always look forward to having the macaroni, though they did not add any vegetables. Nowadays, the Club had managed to add more choices for vegetarians, they no longer serve cheese macaroni. A few days ago I suddenly remembered the cheese macaroni and a craving began. It ended with me making the cheese macaroni with vegetables. It had been ages since I had had the creamy rich dish. Obviously I made it according to the way hubby dear and I would like it… with a few addition of spices. Add whatever you like, vegetables, meat etc. A great meal idea for kids and with the football mania on right now, its a dish you can prepare ahead and keep. Just bake it before the match begins.
VEGETABLE CHEESE MACARONI
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups macaroni
½ cup diced carrot
½ cup peas
½ cup chopped french beans
½ cup corn
1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp ginger paste
½ – 1 tsp green chilli paste
2 tsp salt
2 -3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp oil (to add to the macaroni while boiling)
2 tbsp butter
For the white sauce:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour (all purpose flour)
3 cups milk
¼ tsp nutmeg powder
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
¾-1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper
- Dice the carrots the size of peas.
- Cut french beans that are nearly the same size as the peas.
- Mix all the vegetables, add 1 tsp salt and steam till just done or boil them. Keep the vegetables on the side till required.
- Heat 4 to 5 cups of water in a big saucepan. When it begins to boil add 1 tsp salt, oil and macaroni.
- Cook the macaroni till is just done(al dente) or follow the instructions on the packet. Drain out the cooked macaroni into a sieve or colander. Run cold water over it.
- Mix the vegetables and macaroni.
- Heat butter in a saucepan. Add the chopped onion and stir fry till they are slightly brown.
- Add garlic, ginger, chilli and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the macaroni mixture and the herbs.
- Mix well and take the pan off the heat.
- Heat butter in a pan over low heat.
- Add the flour and mix till it begins to turns very light pink.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the milk. Mix and return the pan to the heat.
- Keep stirring till the sauce heats up and becomes thick.
- When it has a runny custard consistency, take the pan off the heat.
- Add nutmeg, pepper powder, salt and cheese.
- Mix well.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Add the sauce to the macaroni mixture and mix well.
- Spoon the mixture into a bake proof dish.
- Sprinkle grated cheese over and bake till the cheese melts and begins to brown slightly or bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve piping hot with your favourite salad.
- Add vegetables of your choice. If you want to add sweet pepper, cut and saute along with the onion.
- You can increase or decrease the amount of cheese used.
- Use fresh herbs if available.
- Adding chillis and ginger is optional.
- If your sauce turns a bit lumpy, just whisk it continuously to break up the lumps. The trick is to have enough fat or oil to cook the flour. It should be runny and not lumpy. Also remember to take the pan off the heat when you add milk. Mix vigorously and then return the pan to the heat.