Green vegetables mac 'n' cheese
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 medium leeks, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 x 200g bag shredded curly leaf kale
- 60g butter
- 60g plain flour
- 900ml whole milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 100g basics Italian hard cheese, finely grated
- 250g basics full flavour cheddar, coarsely grated
- 25g breadcrumbs, fresh or dried
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 350g white macaroni with added fibre
- 200g frozen peas
Step by step
Prepare to the end of step 5 up to a day ahead, but add an extra 100ml milk to the sauce when mixing with the cooked macaroni. Allow an extra 15-20 mins in the oven when cooking from chilled.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large deep frying pan, add the leeks with a bit of seasoning and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring, until softened, then tip out on to a plate. Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan with the garlic and cook until fragrant, then pile the kale into the pan (a handful at a time if it won’t all fit initially), add 4-5 tablespoons water and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until wilted. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a medium-large saucepan, melt the 60g of butter, then mix in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the milk, stirring until smooth. Return to the heat, add the bay leaves and some seasoning, and bring to the boil, still stirring, until thickened. Simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil for the pasta. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6.
Combine the two types of grated cheese in a bowl. Set aside 75g of the mixed cheese and combine with the breadcrumbs for the topping, then add the rest of the cheese to the white sauce, along with the mustard. Turn off the heat under the pan and stir until the cheese has melted. Season to taste, remove the bay leaves and cover the pan to stop a skin forming on the sauce.
Cook the macaroni for 4 minutes or until just al dente, then add the frozen peas and cook for 1 minute. Drain, rinse briefly with cold water, then return to the pan. Mix the cheese sauce through the pasta and peas.
Tip half the macaroni cheese into a large baking dish (about 3-litre capacity), then spoon over the garlicky kale. Add the rest of the macaroni cheese, then top with the leeks and the cheesy crumbs.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbling, crisp and golden. Leave to settle for about 10 minutes before serving.