There is nothing quite as satisfying and indulgent when you are a huge cheese lover and pasta eater than a super creamy flavoursome macaroni cheese…
When thanksgiving was approaching I was given the job of making the macaroni cheese for an American independence day celebration event, as a Brit did I really master this American dish?
It is difficult to get the perfect concoction for a simple dish, so I began with 3 versions of macaroni cheese as a trial.
I made a basic sauce for all three of these dishes;
- melt 100g salted butter at a medium heat
- add 3 tablespoons of flour, or until a roux is made (smooth brown sludge).
- slowly add and stir in approx 250ml of milk and continue to stir until smooth
- add 250g of fresh grated cheddar and stir until smooth
- season to taste with salt and pepper.
In the photo above you can see three different varieties including meaty chorizo, red leicester with a herby crumb and pancetta with extra cheddar!
Firstly split the basic sauce into 3 different saucepans if making all three;
Top: add to the basic sauce in one pan, small chopped pieces of chorizo and stir well for a few minutes, mix in 1/3 of the pasta and pop in an ovenproof dish.
Middle: add to the basic sauce in the second pan 250g of grated red Leicester cheese, mix in 1/3 of the pasta and pop in an ovenproof dish.
Bottom: in the 3rd pan or the original pan, add cooked pancetta pieces the final pasta and stir well.
Making the herby crumb: to add extra crispiness and crunch to the mac ‘n’ cheese I made a herby crumb. You could use pre made bread crumbs, or you could take a sealable bag and add 4 slices of bread 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon of dried sage, salt and pepper. Then using your hands break this up inside the bag until in small crumbs. Sprinkle this over the top of each mac ‘n’ cheese dish.
Bake each dish in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 30-35 minutes until crispy!
The meaty ones were most popular, but the one with the red Leicester cheese added some extra maturity and the crunchy topping was a total winner. For the final macaroni cheese recipe I took this in to account:
I used the basic sauce recipe but increased the quantities by 2.5 times, used extra mature cheddar, extra mature red Leicester and added pancetta.
Finally added the bread crumb topping with sage, rosemary, salt and pepper.
There were no complaints!