In this recipe from Rejina Sabur-Cross’ book, Gastrogeek, macaroni cheese is given a facelift with the unexpectedly delicious addition of smoky roasted aubergine, smoked cheddar and smoked paprika.
To say we liked the recipe is an understatement! Not only did the textures and flavours of the dish come together to create a whole that was far more impressive than its simple ingredients suggested, the instructions were also spot on and very straightforward to follow. That last bit should be a given, shouldn’t it? But it’s not uncommon to find yourself adjusting cooking times and amounts to achieve the consistency and results described by the author. In this case, the recipe worked like clockwork.
What made this macaroni cheese shine were the smokey flavours from the smoked paprika, aubergine and smoked cheddar.
Gastrogeek’s Amazing Roasted Aubergine Macaroni Cheese
- 1 aubergine
- 300 g dried macaroni
- 35 g butter
- 25 g plain flour
- 300 ml whole milk
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- freshly grated nutmeg , to season
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1-2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 90 g smoked Cheddar cheese , grated, plus some for sprinkling
- 100 ml double cream
- 1 clove garlic , crushed
Roast the aubergine in a hot oven (220 C) for 20-25 minutes. Carefully peel and mash the creamy innards.
Reduce oven to 180 C.
Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions. Drain and transfer to a 25 x 20 cm greased baking dish, reserving a little of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium pan and stir in the flour. Cook the roux over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly and then gradually add the milk, still stirring constantly.
Stir in the mustard, nutmeg, paprika, salt, pepper and cheese and stir until melted.
Stir in the aubergine flesh, cream and garlic, along with a little reserved pasta cooking water (to adjust the consistency if required).
Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and mix well. Sprinkle generously with extra grated cheese.
Bake at 180 C for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
There is absolutely no question whatsoever that we will be making this again, and soon. I recommend that you do too!
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Gastrogeek by Rejina Sabur-Cross is published by Kyle Books.