Pimped-Up Mac n’ Cheese
Is it just me or has the British Summer pulled a disappearing act that would shame Houdini? One minute it’s scorching, next minute it’s raining and dare I say- cold. No complaints here- I’ve just come back from a holiday in Cyprus so I’m welcoming this weather with open arms. I mean I was actually melting over there. It was like having a blow dryer aimed at you 24/7. And the humidity, oh the humidity! By the way, thick long hair and humidity do not mix. No Argan/Moroccan oil in the world can fix it, believe me I tried. Apart from that, my little family had a blast, we reunited with family and friends we hadn’t seen in years and I even conquered my phobia of wasps- it’s true when they say exposure is the best treatment, those guys were everywhere so I just thought ‘meh, if I get stung I’ll whip out my trusty antihistamines- now tan me sun!’. With that said, we’re back in our snugly knitwear and it’s good to be home.
So to celebrate the arrival of Autumn, I present the most comforting, devilishly rich Mac n’ Cheese recipe. This isn’t for the faint hearted- literally.
I’ve pimped it up by adding some crispy streaky bacon and caramelised onions to it, as well as a panko topping. Drooling here.
Here’s the recipe people!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 min
For The Macaroni:
400g macaroni/elbow pasta
1 chicken stock cube
8 rashers streaky bacon, diced
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
Knob of butter or 1 tbsp olive oil
For The Cheese Sauce:
1L full fat milk
200g cheddar (or other melty cheese)
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste
For The Topping:
50g panko breadcrumbs
Chopped fresh parsley (for scattering after baking)
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and stir in the chicken stock cube. Boil the pasta according to package instructions minus 1 minute- you want it al dente. Drain and tip the pasta into a baking dish. Stir through the knob of butter/olive oil and set aside.
Place a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the diced bacon, no need for oil! Once browned and crisp, add the bacon to the pasta and give it a stir. In the same pan, fry off the onions. Once softened, add the brown sugar and cook until browned and caramelised. Tip into the dish and stir once more before setting aside.
Make the sauce. In a medium saucepan over a medium heat, add butter and heat through until melted. Add in the flour and whisk for about a minute till the roux goes a light golden colour. Gradually add in the milk, whisking constantly as you go, to avoid any lumps. Add in all the seasonings and continue cooking for a further 5-10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is a thick, creamy consistency. Take off the heat and add in the cheeses. Whisk to combine.
Pour the sauce into the dish and give it all a good stir to ensure the sauce gets into every nook and cranny. Top with panko breadcrumbs and bake in a preheated oven at 190°C/°170C fan for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbling at the sides.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before scattering over some chopped fresh parsley and serving.