Rigatoni Cheese with Kale
I’m currently watching Newcastle play Sunderland in a rubbish pub I used to work in in Letchworth – bleak. So instead of gouging my own eyes out with my thumbs, I thought I’d take myself away on a rigatoni cheese dream.
I made this last week and it was very very naughty. Like most lactose-challenged people, I crave cheese more than crack addicts crave, well, crack? At least crack addicts don’t become bloated disgusting pigs every time they give into temptation. Or do they?… I wish I was a crack addict. Pass the Rennie.
Rigatoni cheese with kale
Serves 4 / Hands on time xx mins / Total time 40 mins / V
You’ll need: Deep casserole dish and a food processor (if making breadcrumbs)
25g unsalted butter
30g plain flour
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely diced (optional)
300ml semi-skimmed milk
250g vegetarian cheddar or Gruyere* cheese
2 handfuls of kale
2 slices of bread blitzed into breadcrumbs (optional)
1. In a large saucepan, cook the rigatoni according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, grate the cheese, putting a handful to one side for later. Strain the pasta, mix in a bit of olive oil to prevent it sticking and pour into a suitably sized baking dish.
2. If making breadcrumbs, add 2 slices of torn bread into a food processor and blitz to breadcrumbs. Put to one side.
3. In a medium non-stick saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat and add the garlic and the chilli. Cook for a few minutes before whisking in the flour. Continue to cook for another minute whisking all the time. Add the milk in a quick stream And continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and lump free. Carry on whisking and cook for a further few minutes until the sauce has thickened. Preheat a grill to a high heat.
4. Stir in the grated cheese bit by bit mixing all the time with a wooden spoon until the sauce is smooth and glossy. Season well with salt and pepper.
5. Mix in the kale and cook for 5 mins to allow the greens to soften slightly before pouring the cheese sauce over the rigatoni. Mix well and pour into an oven-proof dish. Top with the remaining grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Grill on a medium to high heat until the top is bubbling and golden. Serve with a simple green salad.
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V – Vegetarian
*Gruyère is a cheese of protected status originating from Switzerland. The production and maturation is defined in Swiss law and all Swiss Gruyère producers must follow these rules, however this doesn’t specify the use of animal rennet. Therefore it could or could not be vegetarian.