Oh my oh my, I'm going to save you hours of internet searching for what I can only describe as... really really delicious MACARONI CHEESE - MAC 'N CHEESE American friends. There's little else I can say. It's bloody fantastic, flipping marvelous, shut the front door, get in my belly, I want my baby-back baby-back baby-back... good (I really hope my readers are also Austin Powers fans else that last line...)
ONIONS and GARLIC are a source of healthy sulfur, which is very complicated but necessary for the basic functioning of the body. Think functioning of cardiovascular system, muscles, central nervous system, hair...
NUTRITIONAL YEAST is a complete protein rich in B 12 (if fortified) vitamin B1 thiamine, B3 niacin (cell division, makes red blood cells, helps body process carbohydrates, helps digestion and conversion to energy)
DAIRY FREE MILK is often fortified with calcium and other vitamins like B12 which are hard to find in plant based products, but it will obviously vary.
ALMONDS are thought to be among the world's healthiest foods and are a very good source of Biotin which helps with blood sugar levels and Vitamin E which is an antioxidant and does other more complicated amazing things.
Prepare your whole head of garlic with 1/4 tsp salt and smash in a pestle and mortar
No, I didn't come up with this recipe all by myself, I have been experimenting with vegan macaroni cheese recipes for a while now and found the best one on the Minimalist Baker. This here is my tweaked version, I don't know that it's better it's just tweaked. I have basically snuck in some of my old non vegan tricks too.
GOOEY MACARONI CHEESE
SERVES 4+ HUNGER DEPENDING
PREP TIME 10 -15 MINS | COOK TIME 25 | TOTAL 40 MINS
I've tried numerous recipes and this is what has evolved from a lot of practice. I grew up with macaroni cheese being the biggest treat I could ever wish for and was what held me back from going completely dairy free for a long time. But now? Not bothered one bit, not with this dish in my life. We always had caramelized onions in ours, you can omit them if they don't suit you.
4 tbsp + 1tsp olive oil
1 bulb garlic (used in different parts of the recipe)
4 1/2 tbsp tapioca flour**
500 ml dairy free milk
5 tbsp nutritional yeast
*1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper (any pepper is fine)
1/2 cup ground almonds
*always use measured spoons for my recipes as there's often a difference between a measured teaspoon and the spoon you use for tea.
** You can probably use another thickening flour. I have it in my cupboards from mozzarella attempts and am currently going through its uses. Let me know if you experiment!
Prepare the garlic and salt. Either a) very roughly chop each clove of garlic and chuck it in the pestle and mortar with a pinch salt then smash away releasing all of those delicious juices, b) mince them all in to a small dish or c) smash with flat side of knife and slice. Set aside.
slice your shallots in to thin half moons.
Prepare and measure out remaining ingredients ( tapioca flour, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, milk, macaroni and ground almonds.
Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a small non stick frying pan on a medium heat and add the shallots. Fry until shallots become sticky and start to brown then add 1 tbsp of smashed garlic, stir and let fry for 30 seconds longer. Remove from heat. Set aside until later.
Cook your pasta according to packet instructions, if using gluten free make sure you give it a good stir at the very beginning and throughout else it'll be one big clump of macaroni by the end. Drain and drizzle a little olive oil over and stir to stop it sticking together. Set aside.
Take a bigger non stick pan (a good sauce pan would work) and heat 4 tbsp olive oil on a medium heat and add remaining garlic, stirring constantly so not to brown, add the tapioca flour and keep stirring to form a paste then add the milk and whisk until nicely combined and looking like a bit of a clumpy sauce.
Pour sauce in to blender, add nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and whizz until sauce is officially de-clumped (smooth). If you're a magical whisker perhaps you could skip the blending step?
Pour back in to sauce pan and heat gently until sauce is thick enough. (taste and add more seasoning if needed. You want a full taste so it should taste saltier than you'd usually have - the pasta will mellow it out.
Put your cooked pasta in to an oven proof dish and add your fried shallots and sauce and prod it around to get a nice even distribution.
Sprinkle ground almonds over the top and pre-heat the grill (broiler)
Grill/broil until almonds are golden, keep an eye on it as they easily burn, I don't put my dish too close to the burners, a bit more center in the oven. I'm wondering if a little spray of olive oil before it goes under would prevent this problem.
Remove from the oven and serve with some garlicky greens and ketchup (what?)