Friday, 2 September 2011

Macaroni and cheese

When I was a wee young thing I would often go to my Nanny's house to stay overnight or for a weekend. My big treat to have when I was there was macaroni cheese. As a child I loved carbs and I loved cheese - even if I didn't eat much else - so this was heaven on a plate. I don't want to do my Nanny a disservice as she was an amazing woman and great cook, but her way of making macaroni cheese was to cook the pasta and simply stir through some grated cheddar. I use this method myself when I fancy something comforting but not time consuming. However this evening I was watching an episode of the Barefoot Contessa, in which Ina Garten made macaroni and cheese for herself and her husband Jeffrey, and I took a real notion to make myself proper macaroni cheese. I didn't follow Ina's recipe because, bless her heart, she always makes enough to feed a small army. Instead I googled it and came up with one from the BBC Good Food website. I made a few changes but you can see the original recipe here. It is perfect Friday night comfort food.

Macaroni Cheese with Bacon
(serves 4)

Cook 250g of macaroni (or in my case, fusilli) in a large pan of salted boiling water until cooked. Drain and set aside

Meanwhile, grill 4 rashers of bacon until crispy.

Melt 40g of unsalted butter in another saucepan, slightly larger than the one you have cooked the pasta in, and add 40g of plain flour. Stir to form a roux and cook for a minute.

Gradually whisk in 1 pint/600ml of milk, and continue to whisk for 10-15 mins until a thick sauce is formed. By the way, don't panic if it all looks like a watery lumpy mess. As my lovely Twitter friends assured me, just keep whisking and it'll be fine!

Add salt and pepper to the sauce, as well as a pinch of paprika.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to hot.

Remove the sauce from the hob, add 150g grated cheddar and 50g of Parmesan cheese (leave behind a handful to sprinkle later), plus the crumbled up bacon. Stir through the cooked pasta and transfer to a suitably sized baking dish.

Top with some breadcrumbs and the remaining cheese, and pop under the grill until the cheese is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.

Enjoy :)

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