Pasta and a new cheese sauce

One of our favourite dinners is an easy  standby, pasta and cheese sauce. As kids mum used to make macaroni cheese which was different; I think she just mixed grated cheese and a little milk into the cooked macaroni and put it into the oven and the sauce developed on its own – or maybe the macaroni wasn’t cooked, and just baked in the milk in the oven… I don’t even know where she got her recipe from to check… possibly Mrs Beeton – I must go and look.

I cook the past and make a white sauce and add cheese to it. Sometimes I just pour the sauce over the pasta and serve it like that, sometimes I put it into a dish in the oven with some extra cheese on top to crisp up and go golden brown. I make the sauce in the usual way

  • 1 oz butter or margarine
  • 1 oz plain flour
  • ½ pint milk
  • salt and pepper

… melting the margarine, adding the flour and cooking it, stirring like mad, before adding the milk little by little, and the seasoning until all is smooth and glossy and lovely. For a cheese sauce I just add the cheese until it’s cheesy enough.

Today I was cooking in advance; people were coming home from work and having to dash out quickly so I thought I would get everything ready so they could eat and go. I cooked the pasta and put it into a serving dish to go in the oven to wait for the workers. Under the pasta I put layers of sweetcorn, peas, cooked bacon, tomatoes and then I set to making the cheese sauce.

For some reason, and I had obviously seen a recipe doing it this way, I had reserved the pasta cooking water. I made the roux of the margarine and flour and then began to add the still warm water. It blended very easily and when it was still a stiff paste I began to add some milk; however I continued to also add the water – I guess maybe about half and half milk and warm pasta water. It made a very smooth sauce, I must say. I added in the cheese as usual – although maybe more than I normally would, then poured it over the pasta and bacon and vegetables and put it in the oven. About ten minutes before dinner I sprinkled just a little grated cheese on top.

Pasta and cheese sauce is always a favourite, but tonight everyone remarked on how particularly nice it was, especially the sauce! I can see this becoming the way to do it!


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