Mighty Mac and Cheese

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I know lots of fussy children who only ever want to eat plain pasta with grated cheese. Maybe with a little gentle persuasion they may be enticed to try this tasty macaroni and cheese. You can make this with or without the ham and tomato -- it's a really delicious cheese sauce. Pasta provides a good source of complex carbohydrates, so this macaroni will boost your child's energy levels as well as providing protein and calcium.




Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound macaroni
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, optional
  • 1/3 cup sliced ham, shredded, optional


Cheese Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup grated gruyère
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese


Topping:

  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs, about 2 slices bread, white or wheat, crusts removed
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan


Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water according the packet directions.
  2. Melt the butter, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, stirring over a low heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Take off the heat, stir in the Gruyère and Parmesan until melted, then the mascarpone cheese.
  3. Drain the pasta, return to the pan, add the cheese sauce and heat through gently. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and shredded ham, if using.
  4. Transfer to a greased ovenproof dish (approximately 9 in x 5 in x 2 in). Mix together the breadcrumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle on top. Place under a preheated grill until golden and bubbling.

    Note
    Suitable for freezing.