Baingan bharta macaroni cheese


First published in 2016
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I am no stranger to spicing up good, honest macaroni cheese; my dad would make curried mixed vegetable infused macaroni cheese. Cheese and spice work together so well. There is a lot to be said about cheese and comfort and as much can be said about spice and its re-invigoration of the senses; there are some (and in my case, many) days where we need them both for extra fortification.

Baingan bharta is a classic recipe, the roasted and smoky aubergine pulp is curried and mildly spiced, while the macaroni cheese adds nostalgic comfort. Do be careful not to undercook the aubergine, it should be smooth and pulpy…don’t allow for rubbery chunks to ruin the silky pleasure. Other than that, it’s a quick and easy fix for the heart.




Baingan bharta

Macaroni cheese

  • 350g of macaroni pasta
  • 50g of butter
  • 50g of plain flour
  • 800ml of milk
  • 100g of cheddar, plus 1 extra handful for the topping
  • 1 handful of breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Begin by preparing the aubergines. Coat the aubergines in the oil, then score the skin a few times with a sharp knife. Transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the skin has shrivelled and the pulp is soft
Once the aubergines are cool enough to handle, skin them and scoop out the pulp. Mash the pulp with a fork and set aside
Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan, then add the ground turmeric, cumin seeds and chillies. When the seeds start to sizzle, add the onions and garlic and sauté for 1 minute
Add the tomatoes, salt, ground cumin, coriander and garam masala. Cook for 5–7 minutes on a medium heat until the tomatoes are pulpy and softened
Stir in the aubergine pulp and cook for a further 5 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside
In a large saucepan bring plenty of water up to the boil and add the macaroni. Cook the pasta for 10 minutes, or as per packet instructions
To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a non-stick pan over a low heat, then quickly mix in the plain flour to form a paste, stirring all the time with a whisk
Add the milk and whisk gently to ensure no lumps form. Stir in the cheese and allow the sauce to thicken before removing the pan from the heat
In a large oven-proof dish, combine the curried aubergine pulp and macaroni and mix well, ensuring the curry is evenly distributed throughout the macaroni. Pour in the cheese sauce, mix well again and top with a handful of grated cheese and finally the breadcrumbs
Place the dish under the grill until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are golden. Serve immediately
First published in 2016
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