Mac & Cheese Shepherds Pie

Imagine how delicious and comforting mac and cheese is on its own. Imagine how delicious and indulgent shepherds pie is. Now, put them together in the same dish and what do you get? Glorious double delicious Mac and Cheese Shepherds Pie.

This is a dish I came up with one evening as I was getting ready to prepare dinner for my family. I knew I didn't want to just make a shepherds pie alone. I wanted to add something that would give the dish more body and an extra layer of cheesiness. This is how I came up with adding creamy mac and cheese as the base to my shepherds pie.

I have made this dish a couple of times for my family, and they always love it, especially the kids. It's very filling and can be served with a simple green salad and some crispy fried onions for crunch.

The recipe takes a bit of time to prepare, but well worth it as I can guarantee that your family will love it.

The recipe has 3 main components, the mac and cheese, the meat sauce and the mash. You can prepare them ahead of time, or even the night before, and assemble and bake when you are ready to serve.

Ingredients for meat sauce:

1.5kg Minced beef

1 onion, finely diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 large tin chopped tomatoes

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp olive oil for frying

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp each of paprika & ground coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 pinch of cayenne pepper

Salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients for Mac & Cheese:

500g precooked elbow pasta

3 cups milk

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp butter

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients for mashed potatoes:

6 large potatoes

1/4 cup butter

1 cup milk

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt & pepper to taste

1/2 pecorino romamo cheese. Any other hard cheese will work

1 tbsp of fresh herbs for topping

Method for meat sauce:

1. Fry onions and peppers in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add garlic and cook until it doesn't smell raw anymore.

2. Add minced meat and cook until most of the blood is cooked out. Add your spices, sugar and tomato paste and cook for about 3 minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes.

3. Let sauce simmer on medium to low heat for 25 mins.

Method for mac and cheese:

1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter.

2. Add flour and stir with whisk until flour starts to bubble up, about 2 minutes.

3. Slowly add milk while constantly whisking. Whisk until you have added all the milk and the sauce is lump-less.

4. Switch to a wooden spoon and add cheese. Stir until cheese is completed incorporated into the sauce and add your pasta. Mix well.

5. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Method for mashed potatoes:

1. Boil potatoes in cold water over high heat until soft.

2. Mash with a masher until smooth and fluffy.

3. In the meantime, heat milk and butter in a separate pot over medium heat until butter melts. Add milk/butter mixture to the mashed potatoes and mix well.

4. Season and mix well

Layering of the dish:

1. In an oven safe dish, place the mac and cheese and spread it out evenly so it covers the entire bottom of the dish. Repeat the same with the meat sauce and mash.

2. Top with an even layer of the pecorino romano cheese and herbs.

3. Bake in a 180deg oven just until golden.

4. Serve and enjoy.

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