I have lovely fond memories of walking into Godalming high street and lunching with friends in the local vegetarian and yoga café.
This gorgeous café, Café Mila, inspired this dish. Here I have had countless macaroni cheese dishes after walking several miles to get there, all as part of a team challenge to accumulate the highest number of steps.
I always remember the dish coming out, golden brown bubbling cheese covering macaroni with swirls of spinach. This dish is worth the trek! I do love my macaroni cheese, so sometimes I make my own “lighter” version by using reduced-fat cheddar cheese to help keep the total saturated fat under some control. However, if you don’t eat this all the time, and I don’t, using standard fat cheddar is completely fine. In addition, using mature or extra mature cheddar gives a stronger cheese flavour which can help you keep the quantity of cheese used overall lower.
This dish is perfect to make at the weekend when you have time, and then store in the fridge for a quick and easy meal later in the week. Alternatively, why not try making a larger batch and popping one in the freezer. Cooling cooked pasta has been shown to help further increase the fibre content through the formation of resistant starch, adding other benefits to this dish!
Another great way to increase the fibre content of this dish is to use high fibre pasta. This could either be using wholemeal pasta, where the whole grain is used or alternatively, there are now ranges of high fibre pastas. These are where fibre, such as oat, are added to the pasta before it is shaped. Adding extra fibre to your diet in this way is a really easy method for increasing your fibre intake without much effort. On average UK people eat only an average of 18g fibre per day, and the target is 30g fibre per day. This dish contains 5.7g fibre, but a simple swap to fibre enriched pasta could boost the fibre up to 12g per portion!
- 15g butter
- 20g plain flour
- 360ml semi-skimmed milk
- ½ tsp English mustard
- 100g mature cheddar cheese, grated
- 150g dried pasta
- 140g spinach
- Set the oven to 180°C fan/190°C convection.
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute before adding the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly till thick. Add the mustard and half the cheddar cheese and season with pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the packet instructions.
- Once the pasta is cooked, add the spinach into the cheese sauce and mix, followed by the drained pasta.
- Pour everything into an ovenproof dish and top with the remaining cheese and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes till the top is golden brown and bubbling.
Per serving: 711kcal/ 28.9g fat/ 17.4g saturated fat/ 78.6g carbohydrates/ 5.7g fibre/ 31.7g protein