Beethoven's Mac and Cheese

A favourite dish of Ludwig van Beethoven's, given the Minhall treatment.

Beethoven's Mac and Cheese
Saturday 22 February 2014

'Beethoven is the Great Composer this week on More Music Breakfast,' says Anne-Marie Minhall, 'and guess what I recently discovered about Ludwig? Only that one of his favourite things to eat was good old Mac and Cheese. During Beethoven's day it was actually one of the most expensive dishes you could have; macaroni cost three times more than rice - and parmesan had to be imported from Italy. Hopefully my version shouldn't break the bank.'

Ingredients (serves four)

225g dried macaroni
225g a good, strong Cheddar like Montgomery's or Cheddar Pounder from Somerset, grated
55g Parmesan, grated
700ml milk
55g butter
2 and a half tbsps plain flour
2 tbsps butter for the breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic sliced
55g fresh breadcrumbs (or try the Japanese panko variety – very posh!)
Pinch of paprika
3 or 4 sprigs of thyme with leaves picked


Set your oven to 180C or Gas Mark 4.

First, get your macaroni cooked according to the packet instructions.

You now need to make a roux by melting the butter and then stirring in the flour. Add the milk to the pan slowly and keep stirring until you have a smooth sauce. Next, add your garlic slices and cook through for a few minutes.

Time to add the cheeses - make sure they're well mixed in. Season to taste and then add your thyme leaves.

Place your drained macaroni into a casserole dish and pour the cheese sauce over the top of it. Stir well till the macaroni is completely coated in the sauce.

Melt the two tablespoons of butter and then add the breadcrumbs to the pan to lightly brown. Spread them over the macaroni cheese and add a wee pinch of paprika on the top.

Bake for around 30 minutes and then serve with a crisp salad.