Leek mac and cheese

Leek mac & cheese
Leek mac & cheese

This was actually suppose to be a jalapeño mac and cheese, but the ones I had in my fridge had gone all manky, and there appeared to be a jalapeño shortage in north London. I was a bit peeved about this, until I spoke to my friend, Abbie, who informed me that the best mac and cheese she had ever eaten was Delia’s leek and bacon. I pondered for a moment – maybe I didn’t need jalapeños. I certainly didn’t need bacon. Maybe I just needed leeks. Leeks and cheese make excellent bed fellows, so why not throw them together to make hot, passionate cheesy love?
Gosh, where did that come from? Anyway, enjoy – I certainly did.


Leek mac and cheese
Serves 4-6 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 50 mins
You’ll need: Deep casserole dish and a food processor (if making breadcrumbs)
250g macaroni
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large leek, roughly chopped
3 tbs plain flour
400ml semi skimmed milk
250g vegetarian cheeses (you can use a mixture of any cheeses you like as long as it melts easily. I used a mix of Emmental and cheddar)
Breadcrumbs 
50g of stale bread
1 garlic clove
1 knob of butter
30g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan, grated
To serve
leaves and pickles

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Cook your macaroni according the the packet instructions, drain and put to one side. Meanwhile, make your breadcrumbs by blitzing up 50g of stale bread in a food processor, put to one side. Add a knob of butter to a large frying pan along with a crushed garlic clove on a medium heat. Once melted add the breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown. Put to one side.
2. In a large saucepan add the butter, crushed garlic cloves and dijon mustard on a medium heat. Add the roughly chopped leek stir until well coated in the mix. Put the lid on and allow to sweat for 10 mins, keeping an eye on the mixture to make sure it doesn’t burn. Meanwhile, use this time to grate the cheese.
3. Once the leeks have softened, add the the flour, stir and continue to cook for a minute stirring continually. Add the milk bit by bit and incorporate into the leeks stirring well until smooth (well as smooth as it can be with the leeks in it). Season well with salt and pepper and take off the heat.
4. Add the cheese a handful at a time and stir after each addition, until you have a thick, silky cheese sauce. Stir in the macaroni and pour into an oven proof dish. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, grate over the Italian hard cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked, leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a simple salad and few pickles.
Leek mac & cheese
Leek mac & cheese

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


*Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.



Rigatoni Cheese with Kale

Rigatoni Cheese with Kale

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 ‘lactosely’ challenged people, I crave cheese more than a crack addict craves crack. At least crack addicts don’t become bloated disgusting pigs every time they give into temptation. Wish I was a crack addict… Pass the Tums.

Rigatoni Cheese with Kale
Serves 4 / Takes 40 minutes
Ingredients:
250g rigatoni
25g butter
30g flour
1 large garlic clove
1 deseeded green chilli finely diced
300ml milk
250g Gruyere cheese
Salt and pepper
2 handfuls of kale
2 slices of brown bread blitzed into bread crumbs (crust cut off). Alternatively you can use a few tablespoons of shop bought breadcrumbs.
Salt and pepper

Method:
1. Put the rigatoni on to boil in salted water and follow the cooking instructions. While it’s cooking grate all of the cheese so you have it ready to go but put 50g to one side for the topping. Strain the pasta, mix in a bit of olive oil to stop it sticking together and put to one side.
2. Cut off the crusts and tear the bread into chunks. Pop in a food processor until you have fine breadcrumbs. This will only take about 10 seconds. Put to one side.
3. Put the grill on a medium to high heat.
4. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat and add the chilli and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
5. Whisk in the flour bit by bit and continue to cook for another minute whisking all the time.
6.  Add the milk in a quick stream And continue to whisk until smooth and lump free. Carry on whisking and cook for a further few minutes until the sauce has thickened.
7. Stir in 200g of the grated cheese And continue to mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the sauce has come together. It should be smooth and glossy.
8. Once the sauce is smooth, season well with salt and pepper. Mix in the kale and then the rigatoni and continue to cook for 5 more minutes strirring all the time.
9.  Pour out into an oven proof dish and top with the remaining Gruyere and breadcrumbs and season. Grill on a medium to high heat for 5 minutes or until top has gone golden brown. Serve with a simple green salad. Tasty tasty.

Rigatoni Cheese with Kale
Rigatoni Cheese with Kale

If you’ve had a go at making my rigatoni cheese I’d love to hear what you think. @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com