I usually try to lighten up stodgier foods, but when it comes to mac and cheese, it seems almost morally wrong to try!! If you want to eat this, you need to embrace the cheese, the carbs, the creamy sauce and enjoy every gooey mouthful.
As suggested in the name, it’s all about the cheese here. This version uses 3 different types: mature cheddar for it’s sharp flavour, mozzarella for it’s stringy creaminess, and a little parmesan to add an extra layer of salty depth. My amounts are modest enough to make this tasty without the instant coronary, but if you want to add more there really is no such thing as too much.
While fabulous on its own, because of it’s almost sweet creaminess it makes a great side dish to salty gammon or good quality sausages. You can also add just about anything you like to it to make it a more interesting one dish meal – my favourite additions are chicken and sweetcorn, bacon and mushroom, or cubed tomatoes and chorizo.
Delve in and enjoy!
The Ultimate Mac and Cheese
Serves 4 as a Main or 6 as a Side
- 250g dried macaroni (any other small pasta shapes work just as well)
- 2 heaped tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp butter/margarine, plus a little extra for greasing
- 1/2 pint milk
- pinch of nutmeg
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 mozzarella ball, cubed (around 125g)
- 4 tbsp grated parmesan
- 50g strong cheddar, grated
- Bring a large pan of well salted water to the boil, add the macaroni and cook for 10 minutes while you make the sauce. (You will be baking the pasta in the oven too, this amount of time will give you a very soft pasta in your end dish, if you prefer a more al dente pasta then reduce the cooking time here by 2 minutes)
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- In a medium pan, melt the butter then stir in the flour
- Beat well with a wooden spoon until a ball is formed. Continue to stir this over the heat for a minute or two, this will cook out the flour
- Slowly add the milk a little at a time, stirring continually until you have a smooth white sauce. If it becomes lumpy, whisk well with a balloon whisk over the heat until smooth again.
- Add a pinch of nutmeg and half of each of the cheeses. Stir until melted. Add a little more milk if the sauce is too thick. It’s better for the sauce to be slightly on the thin side as it will be absorbed by the pasta while baking later
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on the lowest heat for a few minutes
- Once the pasta has had its cooking time, drain and stir through the cheese sauce. If you’re adding extra ingredients (such as bacon or cooked chicken), stir these through too
- Lightly grease a large baking dish (or 4 individual dishes) and add the macaroni cheese. Transfer to a large baking dish and top with the remaining cheeses.
- Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until all the cheese has melted and slightly browned
- Remove from the oven and leave to stand for a minute or two before digging in.
Note: You can make extra cheese sauce and store in the freezer for up to 3 months, however this dish as a whole doesn’t reheat well after freezing. The pasta tends to absorb more of the sauce on cooling, removing most of the gooeyness which make it so yummy!.