Mornay is a regular in our house for two reasons. Firstly, I have teenage sons. These guys are like human vacuums, ingesting voluminous amounts of food several times a day. Lots of pasta is good. It at least touches the sides.
Secondly, it is economical. And economical is good. Pasta is cheap and goes a long way. I use powdered milk for the recipe to stretch that grocery dollar just a bit further. And it makes the perfect leftovers for lunch, except there's usually none left over in our house.
Mornay / Pasta Bake
3 cups uncooked pasta (spirals, macaroni, shells, etc)
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons plain flour
2 ½ cups milk
½ cup cream or sour cream
1 cup grated cheese
2 hardboiled eggs, shelled, roughly chopped
Fresh breadcrumbs (2 slices bread)
¼ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup grated cheese
Your choice of tuna, chicken or vegetables (see quantities below)
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Cook pasta according to packet directions. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter in large saucepan. Sauté onion until tender. Remove from heat. Add flour and combine. Stir over heat for one minute. Remove pan from heat. Gradually add milk, whisking in between each addition until smooth. Return to heat and stir continuously until sauce boils and thickens. Stir through cream or sour cream to warm through. Stir through grated cheese until melted. Add cooked pasta, eggs and your choice of tuna, chicken or vegetables. Stir to combine. Transfer mixture to a 1.5 litre capacity ovenproof dish. Top with combined cheeses and fresh breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbling and golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with side salad and crunchy potatoes or garlic bread.
For fresh breadcrumbs, freeze 2 slices of bread, remove crusts and grate. Alternatively, process fresh bread slices in a food processor (crusts removed). I process stale bread in my food processor and freeze the crumbs in clip seal bags for later use.
Life for us has been all about survival on a shoestring budget. I cook from scratch and don't buy prepackaged mixes of anything. I've learnt how to live on very basic (and cheap) staples. I've raised happy and healthy kids and I believe that good food is central to a good life!
The Economics of Eating App is now available for purchase!
I have an unpublished cookbook manuscript that lives on my kitchen bench. This is the collection that I have fed my family from for many years, all made from a core list of practical and economical ingredients. The manuscript is splattered with butter, flour and milk from daily use. It moves between the kitchen and the office as I edit and test-kitchen the recipes.