Girls and boys, ladies and gentlemen- I don’t know how we’ve gotten to 3 years of blogging without having as much as even mentioning this pasta recipe I’m going to share with you tonight. The truth is, although it was my favourite Sunday night dinner when I lived in Delhi not too long ago, it has since slipped into the deep, dark crevices of my terrible memory. Until two days ago that is. It happened like this: I was oohing and aahing over Edyln’s aloo gobi pot-pie recipe, annoyed that I hadn’t thought of it first. I left her a comment telling her what an ingenious idea it was, and she very sweetly wrote back and in her reply happened to mention that if I ever came up with a Indianized mac and cheese, she’d be my best friend forever. Which is when it struck me that there is no better way to describe my favourite pasta- the one I ate in Delhi and pretty much right through my childhood- Indian mac n cheese! Ting! Ting! Ting! It beat regular mac n cheese right in the butt because unlike most children, my taste-buds abhorred any food that wasn’t laced with chili. I know, the Malabari blood runs deep through my veins as Daenerys from GoT would have said.
We made them into these cute individual sized portions, perfect for the movie-dinner that we have planned for tonight. Baked mac n cheese and my fair lady. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Spicy Baked Mac n Cheese with Shrimp
For the pasta:
1 cup macaroni
5 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
For the prawn mixture:
250 g prawns
2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tomato, finely chopped
2 green chilies, chopped
¼ cup (after chopping) loosely packed coriander leaves, finely chopped
For the sauce:
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup cream (we used amul fresh cream)
½ cup reserved pasta water
1 cup mixed cheese (we used a combination of parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella)
1 1/2 tsp djon mustard
½ tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper to taste
For the topping:
1 cup breadcrumbs
25 g butter, melted
Bring 5 cups of water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp oil.
Add pasta and cook, stirring often, until tender.
Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a medium saucepan, add onions and sauté until soft. Add green chillies, garlic and tomatoes and sauté for five minutes on medium flame. Add the prawns and cook until it changes colour, add coriander leaves and salt to taste.
Transfer to a bowl and use the saucepan to make the sauce.
Melt the butter, add flour and whisk until the mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in colour (about a minute).
Gradually whisk in milk, cream and the reserved pasta water.
Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened.
Turn off heat, add the mustard and chilli flakes.
Now add in the cheese, and stir well.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the breadcrumbs with the melted butter and set aside.
Toss the cooked pasta and shrimp mixture into the sauce and mix well.
Turn it out into a large, greased, baking dish and sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree Celcius for 35-40 minutes, or until the top turns golden and it bubbles on the sides.