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.
macaroni (I'm using spirali)
Watch the video
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