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Autumnal Macaroni and Cheese

As for many people, Macaroni and Cheese is a comfort food. I've grown up with it and don't usually mess with it too much. I do like adding different vegetables to it though, cutting down on the carbs and cheese with a little bit of extra green. Spinach and broccoli are particular favourites. Making it the other day though, I realised that I was out of white cooking wine for the roux. I had already planned on adding pumpkin and apple to the mix, so decided to go all out and make the roux using apple sauce. Unfortunately I also was low on cheese (no points for advance planning and preparation!) so it was under-cheesed, but aside from that, the seasonal twist worked really well!


1kg spiralli pasta

2-3 c pumpkin, chopped

1 onion, chopped

3 apples, chopped

2 tbsp butter

For the roux:

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour

1 1/2 - 2 c milk

1 1/2 c apple sauce

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3ish c cheese, grated

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp Pul Biber

1/2tsp sumac

Pepper to taste

1) Boil the pasta until almost al dente. Place pumpkin, onion, apple and butter in a baking dish and roast at 180°C while prepping the rest of the ingredients. Check and stir occasionally.

2) In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour to make a paste. Add milk gradually, stirring well after each addition (adding it too fast will lead to a lumpy sauce).

3) When all the milk has been incorporated, add the apple sauce and start incorporating the cheese bit by bit. Add the vinegar (even a splash more if necessary to get a smooth sauce) and the spices.

4) When all the cheese is melted, taste test, then mix the pasta, veg and sauce together in a casserole dish. Bake at 180°C for 35 - 45 minutes, until browned and crisped on top to your liking.

I love this variation on macaroni and cheese. It could do with a little improvement next time though. I needed more cheese, and although it looked like I had masses of veg when I put it in to roast, I think it could do with more. I would aim for equal parts pasta and veg next time. We had it meatless this time, but it could work really well with some little bits of bacon. Otherwise, though, I was delighted with the texture of the sauce and the flavours of the dish as a whole. The boys loved it too, which is always important!

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