Macaroni Cheese with Ratatouille

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Macaroni cheese is the ultimate quick and easy, I-forgot-to-get-anything-out-of-the-freezer comfort food. Ratatouille is a great way of using up all those odd and ends of veg in your fridge. It also goes well with macaroni cheese, jazzes it up a little. I just went through my fridge and pulled out all the stuff I thought would go well in it, so it is not your traditional ratatouille, but feel free to experiment or leave things out if you don’t happen to have them.

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 – 3 carrots

1 courgette (I forgot to put this in, scatterbrainedidiot)

asparagus, about 8 trimmed spears (it needed using up)

a carton/tin of chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh if you prefer)

If you have a heavy-bottomed frying pan with a lid, that would be perfect. I don’t, so I used a regular frying pan. Start by dicing the onion and frying it over medium heat. Add the garlic, either crushed or finely chopped. Let the onion brown before adding diced carrots, courgette and asparagus. Pour the tomatoes in and give it a stir. Let it bubble away on a medium low heat until the harder veg (carrots and courgette) are soft and cooked through.SONY DSC

While that’s simmering, make the macaroni cheese.

Dried pasta

Cheese (about 6 oz)

Plain flour

Margarine

½ pint milk

Cook the pasta according to the instructions, or just boil it until it’s edible, whichever you prefer. Generally work on 3 – 4 oz per person. While that is coating your hob with starchy water which is a nightmare to clean off, start on the cheese sauce. You can weigh the flour and margarine out, but I like an easy life, so I just grab a teaspoon and put 2 heaped teaspoons of margarine into a saucepan, and melt it over medium heat. When it’s melted, add 2 heaped teaspoons of flour and whisk it into a stiff ball. Veeeery slowly, a little at a time, add the milk, mixing really well between additions to prevent lumps. Once all the milk is in, turn up the heat a little, stirring frequently, until it thickens. Add the cheese, mix it until it melts, and remove from the heat. Drain the pasta, pour the sauce over the pasta and mix so all the pasta is coated, and serve.

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