Mac n Cheese – the ultimate winter warmer
This one’s from our friends at The Stock Merchant. Ben and the crew decided to do it themselves after becoming frustrated that while many producers offer ethically raised meat, eggs and other products, there were no premium stocks that used bones from free range animals.
The stocks are made in small batches the traditional way. They roast and simmer the bones for hours and only choose pristine vegetables and herbs. This results in stocks with a remarkable purity. No preservatives, additives or flavour enhancers are used. There’s no added salt and all stocks are gluten free. It’s LLM all the way.
The Stock Merchant’s aim is simple: to add a depth of flavour to your culinary creations while helping support free range animal farming in Australia.
Here’s 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 vegetable stock, use all chicken stock.
Serve with a fresh vinaigrette-based salad as it helps cut through the richness of the dish.
Requirements: One large pot, preferably with a heavy base.
Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes
Feeds: 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)
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 cheesiness 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
1. Fry the onions, shallots and leek in the olive oil until translucent.
2. Add the white wine and reduce.
3. Add the macaroni, stock and salt.
4. Bring to a boil, stirring every now and then. The pasta will start to absorb the liquid.
5. When the pasta has absorbed almost all of the liquid it should have a creamy consistency.
6. After most of the liquid has been 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).
7. Check seasoning, if more salt is required, add now.
8. Stir in grated cheese and freshly cracked pepper.
9. Keep cooking until the cheese has is fully melted and distributed amongst the pasta.
10. Serve immediately.