Mac & Cheese is a truly classic American dish. It’s easy, it’s tasty and it’s cheap! A student’s dream right? I think of it as comfort food because it reminds me of my childhood. As a kid growing up in the States, Annie’s Mac & Cheese was a firm favourite. It came in this bright purple box that was filled with tiny shell shaped pasta and a sachet of (slightly orange) powdered cheese sauce. Once the pasta was cooked, the powder was sprinkled over and milk added – stir together and ta-daa dinner was ready!
Years ago, back in the Annie’s Mac & Cheese desert (aka England), I came across this Mac & Cheese recipe that used sour cream. It was featured in one of those ancient Sainsbury’s Cookbooks, that was so old that the photographs were still in black and white! But, as Mac & Cheese is such a simple and easy recipe it was featured. Flicking through the recipes in the book, I noticed how basic most of them were, because there were less variety in ingredients decades ago. It struck me what a good ‘student-y’ cookbook it was; as the recipes didn’t use hundreds of ingredients and were mostly firm favourites of mine!
Anyway, the recipe struck a cord with me, as there was no need to make that complicated white sauce (whilst stirring and praying consecutively that it wouldn’t go lumpy). Even more, it moved away from the heavy, thick white sauce that is sometimes associated with Mac & Cheese.
For my version of Mac & Cheese, I like to add Cavolo Nero (a type of kale that can be found in most supermarkets, including Aldi) or some leafy greens to give the dish a healthy twist and a little bit extra flavour. This is, also, a great dish to portion out and put in the fridge / freezer for another night when you just can’t be bothered to cook.
Mac & Cheese
Serves 2 | Takes 20 minutes
- 150g pasta
- 2 large handfuls of thinly sliced cavolo nero / spinach / kale
- 1 tablespoon oil
- A pinch of salt
- 200ml sour cream
- 50ml hot water
- 1tsp paprika
- A handful of grated cheese
- Cook pasta according to packet instructions.
- Whilst the pasta is cooking, in a separate pan lightly fry the cavolo nero with the oil and salt.
- Add the drained pasta to the pan with the greens.
- Pour over the sour cream, water (to loosen the mixture) and paprika. Mix it together.
- At this point you can mix the grated cheese through the pasta to make a really creamy and cheesy mac & cheese. Or you can just sprinkle the cheese on top.
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