I had to give up cow’s milk a couple of years ago and it actually made me so sad. Milkshakes… ice cream… nothing was the same. Fortunately for me cheese seems to be the only dairy product that doesn’t really affect me (yet) so I’m eating as much as I can, whilst I still can. I love cheese on/with almost everything. Cheese on toast, cheesy eggs, broccoli cheddar soup, cheesy fries and of course mac and cheese! Unfortunately I can’t eat it very often as I am yet to find a gluten free macaroni that I really like.
I love all the different styles of macaroni and cheese – from macaroni mixed into a rich cheese sauce to mac and cheese baked in the oven with a crusty topping. In my house and most of the Caribbean households I know of, the preference is to have a macaroni ‘pie’ – macaroni and cheese that is a lot firmer and less runny than the traditional American style mac and cheese (sauce). It’s baked in the oven and you can literally cut it into square pieces and it won’t fall apart.
My original macaroni pie recipe was inspired by my mum’s good friend who is Bajan and makes an amazing mac pie. I don’t think my recipe had as much flavour in it until she told me a few secrets, but I was never really happy with the consistency and texture, and found it a little bit too “stiff” for my liking. As I lived in America for a little while I came to appreciate a good cheese sauce over some macaroni, and so my recipe is kind of like a baked macaroni and cheese pie that mixes the best of both worlds. My brother loves it so I think it’s a winner!
I use a mixture of medium, mild and mature cheddar as I think it gives a good balance and doesn’t make the dish too rich and stodgy. I also don’t have time to waste so I buy packets of pre-grated cheese hehehe. The cheese sauce and the grated cheese together creates an amazing texture, that is just about moist enough to give you a baked mac and cheese that’s not like a soup.
This is more of a side dish/accompaniment for me especially for Sunday dinner or at a party/gathering. If you did want to have it as a main meal I would serve it with a nice tomato & onion salad.