A Note From Nina
“When I need an easy but epic dinner party dish, I turn to my recipe for green mac ’n’ cheese with burrata and smoked garlic oil. I use gluten-free pasta and a rich spinach sauce instead of the classic béchamel, to make it a little lighter. You can add whichever greens you like, but asparagus is in season now so makes the perfect choice, while smoked garlic can be found in good grocers and adds a wonderful crunch to the topping. Enjoy!”
Green Mac ’N’ Cheese
Ingredients for the mac ’n’ cheese
250g GF macaroni (I used Rummo Mezzi Rigatoni)
200g asparagus, blanched in boiled water for 3 mins, (half sliced)
20g unsalted butter, diced
2 balls burrata (about 150g each)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, chopped
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
20g fresh basil
350ml hot vegetable stock
45g Grana Padano, grated (plus extra for topping)
A few gratings of nutmeg
A squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
salt and pepper
6 tbsp olive oil
5 smoked garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and lightly grease a nine-inch baking tray with olive oil. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain.
Now set a large frying pan to a medium-to-high heat and add two spoons of olive oil followed by the chopped leak. Fry for three minutes, then add the spinach to wilt down for three minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock, chilli, basil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine then pour into a blender and mix until smooth. Add in the grated cheese, lemon juice, nutmeg and season to taste.
Now add the pasta, peas and sliced asparagus to the baking tray and mix in the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Grate more cheese on top, dot the diced butter around and bake for 30 minutes.
Set a small frying pan to a medium heat and add the ingredients for the garlic oil. Fry gently for three minutes to crisp up.
Serve the pasta with torn burrata, leftover asparagus and garlic oil.
Eat straight away!