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 / V
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.


V – Vegetarian
*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 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)
250g rigatoni
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)


Method
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.

Rigatoni Cheese with Kale

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.


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.