Jamie Oliver's Greens Mac and Cheese

Baked greens mac and cheese

I made Jamie Oliver’s Greens Mac and Cheese from his new Veg book to take to work for lunch and it was a really good idea. I looked forward to it every day and was sad when I ate the last portion. Next time I make it for packed lunches I’ll cook the macaroni less, maybe for three minutes instead of five, because by the time it’s been boiled, baked and then reheated in a microwave, it loses some of its bite. It was still delicious as macaroni is fairly robust but I do love al dente pasta.

I didn’t use a blender for the sauce as I don’t own one so I cooked it in a large saucepan and used a stick blender. My sauce didn’t look as smooth and silky as Jamie’s and I think I reserved too much of the cheese for the topping so the macaroni turned out more like a pasta bake but it still tasted amazing.

Ingredients

Serves: 6

  • 1 large leek
  • 400g purple sprouting or tenderstem broccoli
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • ½ bunch fresh thyme (around 15g)
  • 2 tbs plain flour
  • 1 litre semi-skimmed milk
  • 450g dried macaroni
  • 30g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 150g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Fill and boil your kettle and preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan).
  2. Trim and wash 1 large leek then slice it into rounds. Remove the florets from 400g broccoli, saving them for later, then finely slice the stalks.
  3. Add the vegetables to a large casserole pan along with 3 chopped garlic cloves and 40g butter, then strip in the leaves from a small bunch of thyme and cook until softened (around 15 minutes), stirring every so often.
  4. Stir 2 tablespoons of plain flour into the pan then slowly add 1 litre of milk. Simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring regularly. The sauce should thicken a little.
  5. Fill a large saucepan with boiled water and salt, then add 450g macaroni and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set to one side.
  6. Add most of 30g of Parmesan and 150g of Cheddar cheese to the sauce, reserving some of the cheese to top the pasta with later.
  7. Tip the sauce into a blender along with 100g spinach and blend until smooth.
  8. Season the sauce with salt and pepper then combine it with the macaroni and broccoli florets. Add a little milk to loosen the sauce if needed.
  9. Tip the macaroni into a 25cm x 35cm dish, top with the remaining cheese and 50g flaked almonds, then bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

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