Homemade Mac + Cheese (with extra veggies)
From my experience as a private chef, it seems that adults and children alike absolutely adore a good Mac and Cheese. I am all about a balanced diet, and so I always like to add vegetables to my macaroni cheese, and found that butternut squash and broccoli are my favourite combination.
You can also add sliced red onion, blanched curly kale, little cauliflower florets and sweet potato – it’s a great way to encourage little ones to eat more vegetables too. If you’re feeling carnivorous, try adding shredded leftover chicken or finely diced ham to your Mac & Cheese.
Chef Jen's Mac + Cheese
Here’s my really easy recipe to make your own macaroni cheese, that will be a winner every time it lands on the dinner table. It freezes really well, and I often keep extra portions in the freezer that I can pop straight into the oven in a hurry.
500ml semi-skimmed milk
25g plain flour/rice flour
200g macaroni pasta (dry)
50g + 25g grated cheddar
25g grated parmesan/mozzarella
½ butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 head of broccoli, prepped into small florets
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp chopped parsley/1 tbsp thyme leaves
Add: Cauliflower / kale / red onions / shredded chicken / diced ham etc.
First, peel and dice your squash and drizzle with olive oil.
Roast in a preheated oven (200C) for 25 minutes.
Whilst your squash is roasting, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, and cook your macaroni for 5 minutes until al dente. (Timings may vary based on your pasta of choice, just follow the packet guidelines.)
Once cooked, remove from the water and replace with the broccoli. Boil for 3-4 minutes until soft, then drain and cool under cold water.
Pour the milk into a large saucepan and add the bay leaf and thyme. Bring to the boil – be careful, it happens quickly!
In a separate pan, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour to form a Roux. Remove the bay leaf from the hot milk and then pour onto the roux.
Continue to whisk vigorously until the milk thickens and then add in 50g grated cheddar. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and stir well to combine.
Add the broccoli and cooked butternut squash. Pour everything into a baking dish and top with the remaining cheeses.
Place in the oven for ten minutes, until the cheese browns.