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Soul Food (Comfort Food) at it's best

I suppose there are some people who don't like macaroni cheese but to tell the truth I haven't come across any.There are many different versions of this soul food, which mainly center around the cheese (sauce) aspect or adding sliced tomato to the top cheese layer before baking.

The macaroni cheese recipe given here is my favourite using my wife's delicious 3 cheese sauce

Ingredients for the Macaroni Cheese

500g [1lb 2oz] pasta cooked a little firmer than normal al dente
+/-750ml [3 cups] 3 cheese sauce see recipe below
2Tomatoes, sliced
80ml [⅓ cup] mature cheddar cheese
15ml [1tbsp] grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredients for the 3 cheese sauce

100g [3½ oz] margarine or butter
4-5 heaped tbsp [70-90ml] flour
450g [1lb] mature cheddar cheese
50g [2oz] Blaaukrantz cheese or any local blue veined cheese
50g [2oz] Parmesan cheese
750-1000ml [3-4 cups] milk, depending on how thick you want the sauce to be
10ml [2 tsp] Dijon mustard
10ml [2 tsp] Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Note:- For a stronger sauce use more Parmesan and/or Blaaukrantz cheese

To make the sauce for the Macaroni Cheese

Grate the cheddar cheese, use a mature cheddar not the plastic processed variety so prevalent nowadays

Crumble the Blaaukrantz cheese

Grate the Parmesan Cheese

Melt the margarine/butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, do not allow to brown

Blend in the flour, one tbsp at a time.

Mix thoroughly until all the butter/margarine is taken up and a ball of "firmish" dough forms. Add more flour if you find this necessary

Cook dough for 1 minute stirring continuously

Add the milk gradually, 100-200ml [⅓-⅔ cup] at a time stirring constantly until you have a thick smooth white sauce (NO LUMPS ALLOWED)

Note:-Use a whisk, it helps to prevent the lumps forming

Allow the sauce to just come to the boil between additions of milk. This will enable you to judge the correct consistency

Cook on medium heat until the sauce thickens

Add the grated cheddar cheese slowly, stirring until all the cheese has melted

Do not allow the the sauce to settle to the bottom of the pan as it turns brown very quickly... This really spoils the taste of the Macaroni Cheese

You should stir along the bottom of the pan and reduce/remove from the heat if you think the sauce might be beginning to stick to the pan

It is a good idea to taste as you go along as cheddar strength and taste varies... You may find you need somewhat less cheddar for your macaroni cheese

Add the Parmesan and Blaaukrantz cheese

Stir until melted

Stir in salt, pepper, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

To make the Macaroni Cheese

Add cooked, drained macaroni to cheese sauce and combine well.

Place the mixture in a 25cm (10 inch) square baking dish

Layer the tomato slices on top

Sprinkle the top with the additional cheddar cheese mixed with a little Parmesan.

Bake in a pre-heated 180°C (350°F gas mark 4) oven for +/-15 minutes, until cheese is browned.

Makes 6-8 good sized portions.

Sit down, get comforted with this version of a great soul food, classic Macaroni Cheese at it's best



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