Basil and garlic macaroni cheese

By Tom Aiken's , February 28, 2013

Very few things can compete with macaroni cheese for warming, homely comfort food and it’s perfect for cold winter nights. I infuse the milk for my cheese sauce with bay and thyme in this simple recipe. It gives the dish a wonderfully herby aroma, and is a delicious twist on a family favourite.

Serves 4

250g macaroni
600ml milk
2 bay leaves
6g thyme
45g butter
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50g flour
3 tsp black pepper
1 pinch salt
50g gruyere
30g parmesan
20g Dijon mustard
15 basil leaves, ripped


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cook the macaroni in a pan of boiling water in accordance with the packet instructions. Strain and set aside.

Place the milk into a large saucepan over a low-medium heat, adding the thyme and bay leaves. Bring up to a warm heat, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a separate pan over a low heat. Melt the butter and then add the garlic. Cook gently for 2-3 minutes then add the flour. Heat for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly so the mixture comes together.

Strain the milk, thyme and bay mixture through a sieve so that you are just left with the infused milk.

Slowly add the infused milk to the other pan over the course of five minutes, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer.

Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper. l Add the cheese, mustard, basil and pasta to the pan, stir well and then pour the mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle some extra cheese over the top and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven, divide the macaroni cheese into 4 portions and serve immediately.

Last updated: 4:45pm, February 28 2013