Hazelnut and Basil Mac and Cheese
Rudely Alternative. Five ingredients. Five steps.
This is a great way to load your mac and cheese with greens. The dish cleverly combines the freshness of a pesto with comforting, cheesy pasta for a delicious (and gorgeous green) end result. Use all of the basil, stalks and all, for plenty of flavour and no waste. – Anna Jones
1 large bunch of basil (about 50g)
1 small head of broccoli (about 200 g), roughly chopped, stalk and all
300 g macaroni, I use a wholemeal one
250g sharp cheddar or gruyere cheese, or a mixture of both, grated
From the store cupboard: 2 cloves of garlic, a couple of slices of bread
- Preheat your oven to 200C with a rack in the middle. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
- Peel the garlic and put it into the bowl of your food processor with the basil (stalks and all), the broccoli and a good glug of olive oil and pulse until you have a fine crumb.
- Transfer 3⁄4 to to a small bowl, leave the rest in the food processor and tear in the bread from your store cupboard, blitz until you have fine breadcrumbs.
- Boil the pasta in well-salted water for about 1⁄3 less time then the packet suggests — you want to be a bit undercooked as it will cook again in the oven.
- Drain the pasta, reserving a mug of the hot pasta water for later.
- Return the hot pasta to the pan and add 3⁄4 of the cheese and the hazelnut drink.
- Next, add the pasta water to thin the sauce to the consistency of double cream, then stir through 3⁄4 of the broccoli mixture. It can be a bit runny as the pasta will soak up the liquid while it bakes.
- Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper before transferring everything to a large baking dish.
- Sprinkle over the breadcrumb mixture and then the remaining cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden and crispy.
- Serve with a crisp green salad.