Friday, March 25, 2011

Grumpy Old Git!

With the recipe below, if you haven't mustard powder, use 1 tsp ready-made Dijon mustard, or half tsp English mustard (more if you can stand the heat). The best milk to use is 'full cream', but if you use only semi or skimmed milk - and although not essential - this can be 'strengthened' by stirring in a good tablespoon of dried milk.
Macaroni and Tomato Cheese: serves 4
9 oz (250g) macaroni
2 oz (50g) butter
2 oz (50g) plain flour
good pinch cayenne pepper
half tsp dry mustard powder
1 tsp tomato paste
1 pint (600ml) milk
8 oz (225g) grated Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
4 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 slice bread, crumbed
Cook the macaroni as per packet instructions, then drain and rinse well under cold running water before setting aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour, cayenne and mustard powder (or made mustard), cook over low heat for 1 minute, then stir in the tomato paste and gradually whisk in the milk, continuing to beat until the sauce begins to boil, then simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and fold in the macaroni and two-thirds of the cheese, adding seasoning to taste. Spoon half into a lightly greased or buttered ovenproof dish and arrange half the sliced tomatoes on top, then repeat with the rest of the macaroni and tomatoes. Mix together the remaining cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle this on the top, then pop into the oven and bake for 20 or so minutes at 180C, 325F, gas 4 or until heated through and the topping is crisp and golden.

Perhaps because I am British, tend to believe that potatoes and pasta just don't go together in one dish. Both are 'carbohydrates' so why 'over-egg the pudding'? However, an esteemed Italian chef proves that the two can be make good 'bedmates', so here's his recipe (translated into Italian: Pasta e patate con ragu di salsiccia).
Macaroni and Potato with Sausage Sauce: serves 4
sausage sauce:
1 lb (500g) potatoes, finely diced
5 oz (150g) sausage, finely sliced
1 onion, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
goat's cheese (or your choice of crumbly cheese)
7 oz (200g) '00' Italian wheat flour
4 oz (100g) semolina flour
3 eggs
tsp salt
First make the macaroni by first mixing together the two flours. Make a well in the centre and break in the eggs and salt. Using the fingers, mix together to make a smooth and even dough. Roll out, not too thinly, then cut into thin short strips with a pastry cutter to make the macaroni. Have ready a pan of salted boiling water.
To make the sauce: put a little of the oil into a frying pan over medium heat and saute the onions, then stir in the diced potatoes. Leave to cook for five minutes while frying the sausage in a separate pan.
While the above are cooking, put the pasta into the pan of fast boiling water and cook until al dente (3 - 4 minutes should be about right when making your own, or cook as per packet instructions), and when ready drain well, fold into the potato mixture, add the hot sausage, tip onto a warmed serving dish and sprinkle the top with crumbled goat's cheese.