Macaroni / Cauliflower Cheese
Our easy all in one cheese sauce method makes macaroni or cauliflower cheese a quick and easy to throw together
Sauce Making, Roux Based Sauces, Simmering, Cooking a Meal
By: Chloe Coker
Cheese sauce is a really easy and versatile basic. It is cheap and quick to make, it can be made in bulk and can be adapted to create a variety of dishes from macaroni or cauliflower cheese to fish pie, lasagne, pasta bake and even souffles
You will need (*Note that you can double the recipe for a batch cook)
250 ml milk
2 tbsp (25g) plain flour
large handful mature cheddar, grated
optional: 1 tsp Dijon mustard
optional: grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
- Place the milk, flour and butter in a heavy based pan over a low-medium heat. Whisk the sauce fast as the butter melts and the sauce slowly thickens. Once the sauce is thick and bubbling, continue to cook it for about 2 minutes stirring all the time (this is important to cook out the starch). This is a white sauce which you can use as the base for lots of things
- Stir in most of the cheese (keeping back a little to sprinkle on top of your dish). Add any extra additions such as mustard or grated nutmeg
- Taste and adjust the seasoning with more cheese, salt and pepper
Cauliflower cheese: cut a cauliflower into florets and cook in salted boiling water for 5 minutes until just tender. Preheat the oven to 180*c. Arrange the cauliflower in an oven dish and pour over the cheese sauce, stir to ensure it is well combined and scatter over some extra cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until bubbling and golden.
Macaroni cheese: cook 300g macaroni for 2 minutes less than the stated cooking time. Preheat the oven to 180*c. Stir through the cheese sauce, top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until bubbling and golden.
Baked fish: Stir through some chopped chives and parsley. Preheat the oven to 180*c. Place 4 fish fillets in an oven dish. Pour over the cheese sauce, top with breadcrumbs and bake for 10-15 mins until the fish is cooked through.
Tips, Tricks and Teaching Info
Roux Based Sauces
A roux is a paste made from butter and flour which is used to thicken a sauce. Traditionally cheese sauce is made by making a roux paste and slowly whisking in warm milk. However, that involves lots of washing up and a high risk of a lumpy sauce. We always use an all in one method which it really quick and straightforward.
Flour contains starch, which when heating with a liquid, swells and thickens – this process is known as gelatinisation – the starch grains soften, absorb liquid and swell to 5 times their size. Eventually they break open and thicken the liquid by releasing amylose.
Now you can make cheese sauce you can make …
macaroni cheese, cauliflower cheese, fish pie, pasta bake, lasagne and souffles