Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli

Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli, 'What Katie Ate'

Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli, ‘What Katie Ate’

The only good thing about the weather here in the UK at the moment is the opportunity to indulge in comfort food. Macaroni and cheese is a wonderful combination at the best of times, but the addition of chilli and salami just tipped me over the edge! I actually had been up for making mac n cheese since I had something very similar at Pizza Express recently that had Nduja sausage melted into it. God, it was good. So I was hoping I could recreate the chilli, meaty kick by following this Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli recipe in ‘What Katie Ate’ by Katie Quinn Davies – buy the book here.

When I made this I was a little concerned that the creamy sauce seemed very thin, but it did end up working out as it should – so don’t be afraid. I also recommend getting salami from the deli counter so it’s in one piece and you can cut it up into good sized chunks (rather than spindly little slices), and definitely roast the tomatoes as per the recipe. The sweetness that they add to this dish was a perfect addition! And the recipe says it serves 6 – and it’s a pretty whopping portion size, so it’s certainly a great dish to cook for a crowd.

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 9/10

Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 250g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g macaroni
  • 250g salami, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 60g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • Large handful of grated Parmesan, plus extra for topping and to serve
  • Large handful grated pecorino, plus extra for topping
  • Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 0.5 – 1tsp dried chilli flakes (to taste)
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp white truffle oil (optional) – I didn’t bother
  • 80ml white wine
  • Handful basil leaves, torn
  • Crusty bread rolls and a green salad, to serve

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160C fan, 180C, gas mark 4.

Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut-side up. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then roast for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside, then increase the oven temperature to 180C fan, 200C, gas mark 6.

Half-fill a large saucepan with salted water, add a glug of olive oil and bring to a rolling boil over a high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 minutes until just al dente (the pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so don’t overcook at this point). Drain and rinse under cold water, then transfer to a large heavy-based casserole dish. Add another glug of oil and stir to coat the macaroni evenly, then add the salami and roast tomatoes. Stir again and season with a little salt and lots of pepper, then set aside.

Portion of Macaroni Bake

Portion of Macaroni Bake

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, then cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat a little, then gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened and is smooth and creamy. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the Parmesan, pecorino, nutmeg, dried chilli flakes, cream and truffle oil (if using), and season with a little more pepper. Mix together well, then pour over the macaroni mixture in the casserole dish, along with the white wine, and toss to coat well. Stir through the basil leaves, then scatter a generous amount of extra Parmesan and pecorino over the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbling, golden brown and crispy (if you like, place the dish under a hot grill for a minute or two to get an even crispier topping).

Serve piping hot with extra grated Parmesan, crusty rolls and a green salad on the side.

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Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash Topping

Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash Topping, Delicious Magazine November 2012

Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash Topping, Delicious Magazine November 2012

The good thing about the 5:2 diet is that it’s still doable if you enjoy cooking and food. Although I’m spotting a pattern – on my non-starve days I tend to crave carbs AND cheese. And given that the weather has taken a strong autumnal turn, I’m craving comfort food too. So I went back through a few old food magazines and found Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash Topping in the November 2012 edition of Delicious Magazine.

The recipe itself is really simple – but, as with all fish pies, there are three stages to the dish which can take a bit of time. The first stage is the mashed potato that’s flavoured with Parmesan and Cheddar. The second stage is the fish filling itself which is various fish types (I used cod, smoked cod and salmon), prawns, onions and garlic. And the final stage is the sauce which is a white sauce base but with wine, Parmesan and herbs added.

I also tried a new thing with this recipe – using a piping bag to pipe the top layer of mashed potato. Now I have no idea if I’m a particularly bad piper, but I found the use of the silicone bag I bought was almost impossible. Because the silicone stretches, I found that the nozzle kept squeezing out of the bag! Hugely frustrating and I’m still finding random bits of potato almost 24 hours later. Thankfully the Katie vs Potato battle was worth the effort – having the piping let’s the potato ‘catch’ in the oven so there’s a bit more texture.

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8.5/10

Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash Topping (serves 6)

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 600g mixed fish fillet (eg haddock, salmon, pollock etc), skin removed and cut into 2-3cm cubes
  • 200g peeled, raw king prawns

For the sauce:

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 350ml whole milk
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • Handful of flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Handful of dill, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon, juice of half

For the cheesy mash topping:

  • 1.2kg floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 50g unsalted butter, plus extra to bake
  • 120ml milk, plus extra if needed
  • 25g grated Parmesan
  • 50g mature cheddar, grated

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas mark 4. For the mash, put the potatoes into a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and pour over cold salted water to cover. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 15-20 minutes until soft. Drain and return to the pan. Add the butter, milk, parmesan and half the cheddar. Mash thoroughly until smooth and creamy. Taste and season. Add a little more milk if you like your mash really smooth and creamy. Set aside and allow to cool.

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes to soften. Add the fish and prawns to the pan along with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Fish Pie serving

For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat. When melted, add the flour and whisk to combine, stirring for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk and continue whisking to form a smooth paste. Add the wine, whisking well, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes or so until thickened. Stir in the parsley, dill, parmesan and lemon zest and juice. Taste and season. Pour the sauce over the fish and stir to coat thoroughly.

Fill a large, deep, ovenproof 2 litre pie dish with the filling. Put most of the mash into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5-2cm star nozzle, then spread the remaining mash over the fish in a thin layer to create a lid. Pipe potato stars over the entire pie top (and, in my case, over the counter, yourself and loved ones). Alternatively cover the whole pie in the mash and fluff up the top with a fork. Dot the top of the pie with a few knobs of butter and the remaining cheddar.

Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until crisp and golden brown. If you wish, put the pie under a hot grill to get the top really crisp and crunchy. Serve with something green – watercress or, in my case, peas!