- 80 g butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups full-cream milk, heated
- 250 g grated cheese (a mix of Gruyere and Parmesan)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 250 g macaroni, cooked and drained
- For the tomato-and-prawn sauce:
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 x 400 g whole Italian tomatoes can, blended
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 200 g prawns, cooked, peeled, deveined and trimmed
- 2 T basil, torn
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Melt 60 g butter in a medium saucepan, then stir in the flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in the hot milk and cook, stirring all the time, until thick and smooth. Season to taste. Stir in 180 g cheese until melted. Reserve the rest for topping.
To make the tomato-and-prawn sauce, gently cook the onion in the oil until very soft. Stir in the garlic. Add the tomatoes and seasoning. Simmer fairly briskly, uncovered, for 10–15 minutes until reduced to a saucy consistency. Check the seasoning. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Stir in the prawns and basil.
To assemble, mix the cheese sauce with the well-drained macaroni and turn half into a buttered oval or oblong baking dish, 28–30 cm in length. Alternatively, use individual baking dishes. Spoon over the tomato-and-prawn sauce and layer the rest of the macaroni on top. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and dot with the remaining butter. Bake immediately or refrigerate until needed. (If you do, allow it to come to room temperature before popping in the oven.) Bake for 15–20 minutes until golden and bubbly.
Cook's note: A layer of home-made tomato sauce elevates this family favourite to something completely different. Stud it with prawns and you’ll never go back to your old ways.