There are many reasons to love living in Switzerland, but in my book the top reason is the cheese. Oh my goodness the cheese. Not that I don’t love a good old English Cheddar, but there’s something about the cheese here that is just from another planet. Am I getting too excited about cheese? How many times can I say the word cheese in one paragraph? Cheeeeeese.
Anyway. Macaroni cheese has been a favourite of mine for absolutely years. It’s pretty much a “hit all round” dinner, so let’s make it even better. Let’s make a Swissed up version. Now I am aware that Cheddar is from England, but the majority of cheese here is a good Emmental and a nutty Gruyere from Swtitzerland, and when blended, these 3 cheeses together make the perfect combination. There is no jar of sauce in sight here, we’re doing this properly! This is such an easy, quick recipe, perfect for a weeknight dinner.
We start by making a Roux sauce (instructions below). Sounds fancy but in reality it’s just about using butter and flour as a base for a white sauce in order for it to thicken nicely. If you’ve never made this before, have a go, you’ll be a total pro after the first time!
Before you pop this macaroni in the oven, it gets just one more sprinkling of the cheese that you set aside earlier. Yes, more cheese (and I got to say cheese again).
Once it’s been baked for around 30 minutes, try to hold off for about 5 minutes to let it cool down a bit (I know, it’s hard to resist!). Then just take a bite, transport yourself to the Alps, and enjoy. If you don’t like these exact cheeses, or can’t get them in your local supermarket, you can substitute pretty much any hard cheese you like as long as you keep the proportions the same.
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Swiss Macaroni Cheese
175g Dried Macaoni or Other Pasta
50g Plain Flour
60g Gruyere Cheese
60g Strong Cheddar Cheese
80g Emmental Cheese
Salt and Pepper for seasoning
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Grate the cheese and mix so that you have a blend of all 3 cheeses in one bowl. Set aside approximately 30g for topping the macaroni cheese and keep the rest for adding to the sauce.
3. Boil the macaroni pasta as per the instructions on the packet. Normally 7-9 mins. Once boiled, drain and place in a roasting dish.
4. In a large non-stick saucepan melt the butter on a medium heat. Once melted add the flour and stir to fully combine. You will end up with a buttery paste which will make the base of the sauce. This is called making a roux sauce. Cook the paste on the heat for about 1 minute to cook the flour.
5. Take the pan off the heat. Very gradually add the milk, stirring thoroughly between each addition. Once all the milk is added return the pan to a medium/high heat. Once the sauce reaches a boil, let it boil for 1 minute to thicken then take off the heat.
6. Add the cheese to the sauce and stir until it is fully melted and combined.
7. Pour the sauce over the macaroni in the roasting dish and stir to mix in. Top with the grated cheese you set aside earlier. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden and crispy.
8. Serve immediately.