I am not averse to a massive bowl of mac and cheese for dinner, but it took a while to convince my family that sometimes this is OK: it doesn’t always have to be rice and curry, or curry and rice. I don’t mean the kind that comes out of a can and isn’t sure if it is mac and cheese or baby custard mixed with overcooked pasta – it doesn’t have to be like a school dinner nightmare. Proper home-cooked mac and cheese is warm, hearty and delicious. This recipe, with mustard and kale to add interest, makes for a delicious one-pot meal.

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, and cook the pasta for 3 minutes less than the recommended time on the packet. Drain and add the oil, stirring it through. This will stop the pasta sticking together.

Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat, then add the garlic and mustard powder and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the flour, and cook for another minute, mixing all the time. Add the milk and the cream, and whisk until the sauce is smooth and lump-free. Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens. Take the pan off the heat, add the grated Cheddar cheese and leave it to melt, stirring occasionally.

Now tip the pasta and kale into an ovenproof dish, and pour over the sauce. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and a good grind of black pepper to serve.

Plant yn y Gegin

Weighing pasta can keep tiny ones amused for ages – in fact, this recipe is a good one for practicing all types of weighing and measuring, grating cheese, peeling garlic and grinding pepper. They may also like to help with the stirring and whisking, under your supervision, at the hob.