Ok, so I know that this is the second cheese-related recipe in a row. It’s just that time of year, where everything is made better by some melted cheese. You know that’s true: toasties, crumpets, pasta, pizza, risotto, onion soup… all are perfect bedfellows with cheese. Plus I have never shared a macaroni cheese recipe, so why the heck not!
I love macaroni cheese, but I don’t eat it very often because it is so OTT, even by my greedy standards. All that cheese, butter, full fat milk, pasta….if I made it every week there would be serious trouble. But macaroni cheese is a winner when done well and I hope that you agree that this has been done well. So as an occasional tea it is a real treat.
Before we go any further, let me state: I know that this isn’t ‘classic’ macaroni cheese. My pasta isn’t macaroni (it’s what I have in at the time – you should use whatever pasta shapes float your boat), I sometimes add peas. Shock – I can often be found with wholemeal pasta in my cupboard. I’m not trying to win any prizes for authenticity, I just want tasty food.
This lovely dish was a Christmas prezzie from my friends over at Silver Mushroom. It is functional, retro-cute and encourages portion control (which I need with mac and cheese) as it is just enough for two. *
I think macaroni cheese is great as a stand-alone dish – maybe with a little side salad or broccoli to cut through the richness. But you could also make this quantity and serve it up with steak or pork loin. Or anything in BBQ sauce – ooh messy BBQ ribs and this would be a dream!
Use your fave cheese, but try and mix it up for flavour. If you like blue (I don’t) you could add a touch, but I wouldn’t go crazy with it.
Lancashire mac & cheese
This is a Lancashire cheese version – I give quantities for both versions in the recipe. My friend Conor sent me packing from the Taste Lancashire conference with some glorious Dewlay Cheese.* If you don’t know Dewlay, they are based in Garstang in Lancashire and make some of the best Lancashire cheese. So a Lancashire mac and cheese was top of my list! You don’t get the ‘pull’ that you get with my other version, but instead you get a beautifully creamy, cheesy sauce.
There is often an unloved slice of bread at the end of a loaf, so I try to remember to blitz into breadcrumbs and freeze so I can have a crunchy topping for this. But don’t worry if not, try using cracker crumbs or panko breadcrumbs.
I’d say no more cheese recipes for a while, but I can’t promise!
Macaroni cheese. Mix up the cheese, but go heavy on a good mature cheddar!
- 20 g plain (all purpose) flour
- 20 g butter
- 450 ml full fat milk
- ¼ tsp mustard powder
- 200 g grated cheese I used approx. ½ mature cheddar, ¼ mozzarella, ¼ parmesan
- 100 g pasta
- Handful toasted breadcrumbs
- Pepper I use white pepper
- Good grating of nutmeg
Cook the pasta according to instructions, until al dente. Drain and leave to one side.
Preheat oven to 200c.
Put a large saucepan over a low heat and add the flour. Cook gently for approx. 1 minute. Add the butter and allow to melt- stirring.
Turn to a medium heat. Add approx. 1/3 of the milk and the mustard powder, and keep stirring- working any lumps out as you go. You may find it useful to stir with a whisk, but if not a wooden spoon.
Add another 1/3 of the milk and keep stirring. When it starts to thicken add the last of the milk and keep stirring until thick and smooth. If it is going too thick, add a splash more milk. Season with pepper, a pinch of salt and a grating of nutmeg.
Once it is thick and smooth, season and turn the heat off. Slowly stir through the cheese and mix well. Add the cooked pasta and pour into an oven-proof dish.
Sprinkle over a handful of breadcrumbs and cook for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is bubbling.
Serve as a side or with some steamed broccoli. However you eat it, enjoy!
Full fat milk gives this sauce it’s creaminess and thickness. I actually use jersey cream milk and it is just divine (FYI, put any leftover milk in your porridge!). I have tried to make white sauce and cheese sauce with skimmed milk and it really doesn’t thicken as much or have the same richness.
Lancashire Mac & Cheese
If you want to make a creamier dish, without the traditional stringy ‘pull’, use equal parts creamy, tasty and crumbly Lancashire cheeses. They will melt into each other. You can, if you wish, grate a little Parmesan over the crumbs before you pop it in the oven.
For breadcrumbs, use home made from stale bread, panko breadcrumbs or even crumbed crackers.
This sauce would be just as good poured over par-boiled new potatoes and finished in the oven the same way.
Disclaimer: This post contains gifted items. Items are clearly marked with an asterisk*. No payment has been received to include these items, but all opinions expressed are based on my honest feedback of the product. I only include items that I really would recommend.
I am finally linking up to #CookBlogShare to pop over to the hashtag and check out some amazing recipes.