So, time for Hello Fresh box, recipe number two. This time a pimped-up macaroni cheese with broccoli. Here are the ingredients.
Those of you who read my review of the first recipe out of this box, this will feel a bit like déjà vu. This recipe was particularly badly written. The stand-out part for me was “boil the pasta for two minutes less than it takes to become al dente”. There was then an explanation of what al dente means, but – again – if you aren’t aware what al dente means, how are you supposed to know how long it takes to cook it to that texture? And, if the instructions had been “cook until al dente”, then fair enough, as the cook can try the pasta, although a timing guide might still be helpful. But two minutes less? I just dug out some pasta already in my cupboard, and used that as a guide, but it’s a concern having a recipe that can’t stand alone.
The instructions were also confusing; it took me a couple of reads to understand I was boiling two pans of water – one for macaroni, one for broccoli, as the instructions told me to set up two pans, and then boil another (which I think was supposed to be one of the original two). As this already had me confused, I completely missed the step I now notice involves adding the broccoli to the pasta for another couple of minutes.
The instructions for the roux talked throughout about stirring, but the illustrations contained a whisk (which for a novice would be much more foolproof). Plus the instructions regarding heat would have had me stirring that roux until doomsday, and it still would not have thickened. The ovenproof dish illustrated was far too small to contain the portions provided, which meant I was hunting through my cupboard at an inopportune moment.
Finally, the portion size was far too large. If I had eaten half of what I cooked, I would have had a Mr Creosote-style moment. The recipe card said this was 737 calories per portion. In fairness, I had added half a courgette to the broccoli (to finish it up), but I got what I would consider to be four medium portions out of what I cooked, so this recipe was certainly for three portions rather than two. I wonder if Hello Fresh had provided rather more broccoli than originally envisaged. Look at the picture; the recipe describes this as “small handful broccoli”. Does that seem “as described”, or do I have insanely small hands? Actually I do, but not enough to make a difference.
Those gripes aside, the result was certainly tasty. I shall be adding tomato puree to my roux occasionally in future, as it gives it a nice additional flavour, and I often forget to put a sliced tomato on the top. In this recipe (sorry I forgot to take a photo, as it looked beautiful – as all macaroni cheese does!), the tomato covered the top and – while I would have put the breadcrumbs and cheese on top of the tomato rather than the other way around as instructed – certainly added to the vitamins content!