This is fast yet fine food at its best, perfect for a speedy and simple mid-week meal. Cooking the pasta in stock using the absorption method creates a creamy sauce (as the starch is retained in the pot) and a full, rich taste without requiring the usual bacon or speck. Substitute the free range chicken stock with all vegetable stock for a vegetarian version. Or if you don’t have any vegie stock, use all chicken stock. Serve with a fresh vinaigrette-based salad as it helps cut through the richness of the dish. We like grated raw carrots with blanched green beans, toasted almond slivers and an olive oil, vinegar (white wine, red wine, sherry…), salt and dijon mustard dressing. Can be easily prepared as the pasta cooks.
Requirements: One large pot, preferably with a heavy base.
Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes
4 people, or 1 or 2 people with heaps for leftovers (mac n cheese is delicious when fried up).
- Slug of olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 shallots, finely diced (or one leek finely diced, or both)
- 500g elbow macaroni (any brand will do, the classic and cheap San Remo variety is good)
- Slug of white wine (only if a bottle is already opened in the fridge, otherwise, don’t worry about it)
- 500ml The Stock Merchant Free Range Chicken Stock
- 500ml The Stock Merchant Handmade Vegetable Stock
- 250g grated soft melting cheese like Edam, Gruyere, Gouda etc (standard Mainland or Bega is fine, otherwise elevate the dish with an imported melting cheese like Emmental or Fontina)
- 200g grated cheddar (you can increase the cheese for more cheesyness or reduce it for less, up to you)
- Generous seasoning of sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Jug of boiling water if required to top up liquid.
- Fry the onions, shallots and leek in the olive oil until translucent.
- Add the white wine and reduce.
- Add the macaroni, stock and salt.
- Bring to a boil, stirring every now and then. The pasta will start to absorb the liquid.
- When the pasta has absorbed almost all of the liquid it should have a creamy consistency.
- After most liquid is absorbed, taste pasta. If still too al dente, add a splash or two of the water (be careful not to add too much water, you can always add more if required).
- Check seasoning, if more salt is required, add now.
- Stir in grated cheese and freshly cracked pepper.
- Keep cooking until the cheese has is fully melted and distributed amongst the pasta.
- Serve immediately.