LEEK AND SMOKED CHEESE MACARONI
An invigorating winter dinner, this goes well with salad or a generous helping of wilted greens. Make more than you need, as this freezes well either before or after it is baked.
drizzle of olive oil
4 small leeks (about 400g), washed and shredded
4 heaped tbsp plain flour
200g smoked Cheddar, grated, plus extra for topping
2 tsp Dijon mustard, or to taste
4 tbsp breadcrumbs (optional)
salt and pepper
- Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Boil the macaroni in a pan of salted water until nearly cooked, for about eight minutes. It should be slightly too al dente to eat. Drain and toss in a little olive oil to stop it sticking together.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a small pan on a low heat. Add the leeks and cook gently until soft, for about seven minutes, stirring now and then. Add the flour and stir over a low heat for two minutes, then gradually stir in the milk (a whisk helps avoid lumps).
- Add the cheese and heat gently, stirring, to thicken the sauce and melt the cheese. Season to taste with mustard, salt and pepper.
- Combine the pasta with the leek mixture and transfer to a baking dish. Sprinkle over a little more cheese and the breadcrumbs, if using, and bake for about 20 minutes until golden on top.