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Basil and garlic macaroni cheese

    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

    Ingredients
    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

    Method

    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.

    www.greatbritishchefs.com

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