14TH CENTURY MACARONI AND CHEESE RECIPE
Also known as "macrows" in The Forme of Cury. In order to make the dough and cheese sauce, I actually used the recipe for "Loseyns" (essentially Lasagne) and for "Powder Douce" from medievalcuisine.com. For the rastons that I served this in, see here.
Serves 2 (fills 2 rastons)
The original recipe:
Take and make a thin foil of dough, and carve it into shapes, and cast them on boiling water & seethe it well. Take cheese and grate it and spread it with butter both above and below your shapes, as you would with lozenge pasta, and serve forth.
Take good meat broth and cook it in an earthenware pot. Take fine white bread flour and make thereof a Paste with water, and make of that foils as thin as paper, with a roller. Dry it hard, then boil it in broth. Take soft Cheese, grated, and lay it in dishes with Sweet Spice Powders, and lay thereon the foils as large and as many as you wish, and above powder and Cheese, and so twice or thrixe, & serve it forth.
The new recipe:
To make the pasta:
150g white bread flour (although all purpose should work as well)
A pinch of salt
200g dried pasta
To make the sauce:
200g vegan cheese, grated (I used the Violife Epic Mature Cheddar Flavour Block)
Powder Douce (see last recipe here)*
A pinch of Ground Pepper or 1tbsp of Whole Cubebs*
*You may notice that this recipe uses "Grains of Paradise" and "Cubebs". This isn't the easiest to get ahold of, but I got mine from The Roving Apothecary.
Make your pasta.
Add the flour to a mixing bowl and mix in a generous pinch of salt.
Slowly add your water to make a dough (adding more flour if too wet and more water if too dry).
Turn it out onto a clean, lightly floured surfact and knead it for around 10 minutes. Once smooth, roll it out until it is the thickness of paper and cut it into "lozenges" (diamond-shapes).
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for about 3-4 minutes and then drain the water.
If you are using dried pasta, just cook it until it is al dente and then drain it.
2. Make the sauce.
In a saucepan, gently melt 75g of the butter. Once melted, add all of the vegan cheese and stir until it has melted. If you want the sauce to be a bit thinner, add more butter (I ended up using the full 125g).
Add in 1tbsp of the Powder Douce, mixing it in thoroughly. Taste the sauce and add more if wanted (I used around 2tbsp total).
3. Construct the dish
From the way the recipe reads, the dish is meant to look more like a lasagne, with layers of cheese sauce and pasta. If you wish to copy this, grab your serving bowl and spoon on a layer of the cheese sauce followed by a layer of the pasta. Continue like this until both have been used up and serve straight away. Alternatively, you could heat the oven to 180°C and grease an oven-safe dish. Apply the layers of cheese sauce and pasta in the same way and cook until the sauce gets bubbly. Either way, grind the Cubebs (if using) and sprinkle it on top of the dish (or use pepper).
For using in the rastons, combine the pasta and sauce into one pan and mix well. Add the macaroni and cheese to the bread bowls and top with the breadcrumbs and ground Cubebs or pepper. Bake for around 10 minutes.
If you used the Powder Douce recipe supplied above, you may find that you have quite a sweet pasta and sauce here. Whilst many modern cheese sauce recipes do add nutmeg, we often do not find ourselves throwing spices such as ginger and cloves into the mix. According to P.W Hammond's "Food and Feasts in Medieval England", the goal of the medieval chef was to completely disguise the origin of the dish and replace it with something more "exotic". This may help to explain the sheer number of spices listed in many recipes.
However, while these recipes do list the spices to use, they often do not specify the amount of each spice to use (hence I suggested adding the mixture in a tbsp at a time). Other spice mixes such as "powdour fort" (consisting of strong spices such as cloves, mace, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper) are noted in "The Forme of Cury" for dishes such as "Vyande Cypre Of Samoun" - or, "Cyprian-style Salmon".
One of the spices that I added myself was "Cubebs". They're not used very often in modern cooking, but were prevalent during Medieval times to be paired with cheeses, meats, and various vegetable dishes. They were previously used in China during the Tang Dynasty, but almost only for medicinal purposes. They've long been linked to fertility and been used as aphrodisiacs. Apparently, throughout Europe they were thought to be very good at repelling Demons (I cannot seem to find a reputable source for this, though). The berries are also used by hoodoo practitioners in love-drawing spells!
If you make this recipe or have any questions/comments about spices and pasta, please leave a comment below or find me on Facebook/Instagram.