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Slightly Posh Mac & Cheese

A cheddar & comté cheese sauce with bacon, and a crispy, spicy breadcrumb top prepared with parmesan, chorizo, & cayenne. What's not to love?

Mac & Cheese. Need I say more? But this classic dish is always open to a few tweaks here and there, just according to taste. If you're feeling a tad indulgent, and maybe you deserve a bit of pampering, these tweaks won't disappoint! The sauce is a tasty béchamel with two cheeses, and the topping is fresh breadcrumbs lushed up with chorizo, cayenne and parmesan. Life's too short NOT to.

INGREDIENTS

bacon

macaroni (I'm using spirali)

bread

parmesan

chorizo

cayenne

butter

flour

milk

cream

single cream

nutmeg

cheddar

comté

pepper

mustard

Watch the video


METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC

  • slice your bacon into small pieces - a good way for this is to roll the rasher up, turn the cylinder you've made and roll it up again sideways; when you slice through you'll be cutting many pieces

  • Fry the pieces off in a hot pan, stirring continuously for about 30 seconds, and set aside

  • Pop your pasta into boiling water and cook as per the timing on the packet

  • Blitz up your bread into breadcrumbs. If you don't have a machine, try a cheese grater

  • Chop the chorizo into very small pieces

  • Grate some parmesan

  • Put the breadcrumbs, parmesan, chorizo and cayenne pepper in a bowl and mix through

  • For the sauce

  • Melt about a tablespoon or a bit more of butter

  • When it's melted, add an equal amount of flour and whisk

  • When it's a paste, add a drop of milk and whisk; it'll turn into a gloopy paste

  • Keep slowly adding milk and whisking - don't add the next pour of milk until you've whisked in the last bit. Slowly, slowly!

  • When you have a thickish sauce, add cream and stir it through with a spoon

  • Let the sauce heat back up from the cream going in - don't boil it! And add grated cheddar and comté cheese. These are my preferences for this dish - I think they work well with the other flavours - but what's the point of life if you can't experiment?

  • Add the nutmeg, pepper and mustard (I use Dijon) and - you've guessed it - stir it through

  • Pop your pasta into a casserole dish or something similar you can put in the oven

  • Add your cooked bacon to the sauce

  • Pour the sauce over the pasta. Where a lot of things go awry is - like potato salad - folk getting excited about loads of sauce (mayonnaise in potato salad). No! Cook the sauce till it's thick, and it should just cling to the pasta. The pasta should be in a duvet of sauce - not a swimming pool. Too much sauce and it will split in the oven and you'll have water with floating bits of cheesy rubber

  • Sprinkle the surface with your breadcrumbs mix

  • If you fancy it, sprinkle the breadcrumbs with a little bit of grated cheese

  • Dot with butter or olive oil

  • 180ºC for 30 minutes

  • Get in!

#lockdownrecipes #lockdowncooking #macandcheese #pasta #dinner #comfortfood

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