Some weeks ago, which whilst typing I realise has quietly stretched into some months, Jack and I ran a half marathon. In the months of training that preceeded our first official half, this was the meal that we quite often devoured in the evening, after running long training miles in the day. With good intentions, I meant to share this recipe with you along with our marathon story in October, yet here we are midway through December and I'm still to hand over the recipe. I promise it is coming, I just have some preamble to get through first.
The marathon story feels less relevant now, but the comforting, soul-soothing baked pasta recipe feels more apt than ever, as the December weather tightens its grip with unexpected snowfalls, ice and frost.
This marmite macaroni and cheese is everything wonderful about buttery marmite on toast. I find there is something particularly mouth-watering about how butter and marmite melt together on toast, sinking into the bread forming clumps of crumbs in places. Really this shouldn’t be appetising at all, but it reminds me of hungry after-school snacking with my sister where we could demolish half a loaf of bread between us, only leaving behind a few crumbs and tell-tale toast sweat on the kitchen counter from where we greedily hadn’t bothered with plates – sorry Mum. I’ve tried to replicate this toasty flavour with blitzed wholemeal breadcrumbs. It works, plus it adds an irresistible crunch atop the soft macaroni and oozing, marmitey cheese sauce.
I think it makes the perfect recipe to stay sane with over the holiday season. It can't all be turkey, trimmings and six desserts. Sometimes it just has to be mac and cheese, with an excellent savoury twist.
- 250g macaroni
- 40g butter
- 40g plain flour
- 200g cheddar
- 50g Parmesan
- 1-2 tbsp marmite
- 500ml milk (semi-skimmed or whole)
- 1 slice seeded brown bread
- black pepper
- Blitz the brown bread in a food processor until you have fine crumbs.
- Cook the macaroni according to packet instructions, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- While the macaroni is cooking melt the butter in a medium pan over a medium heat. Once melted add the flour and stir to form a roux.
- Gradually whisk in the milk followed by the marmite. Cook for 10-12 minutes, whisking occasionally, until thickened.
- Preheat your grill to high.
- Remove your marmite sauce from the hob, add 3/4 of the cheddar and Parmesan, plenty of black pepper and stir until completely combined.
- Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and stir until coated. Transfer into an ovenproof dish.
- Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs and cook under the grill for 5-10 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.
Ah and I should say we completed our half marathon, too (thank you for the pictures, Mum!). What a sense of accomplishment it gives when someone times your effort and gives you a medal and a pat on the back at the end. We'll be doing another soon I'm sure, as along with the pride of completion, I'm also rather fond of the nice, cyclical, balanced feeling of running 13.1 miles and then eating a roast dinner, a portion of sticky toffee pudding and a family-sized bar of Dairy Milk all in one afternoon.