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Mac and Cheese

Introduction & method

Mac and cheese, or macaroni cheese, is probably one of the greatest comfort foods ever invented. Pasta, cheese sauce, and cheese on top. It's just fabulous. This is a slightly fancy version using three types of cheese, and bacon,but you could just as well do a simple version with just one cheese. It's actually a very old dish, being mentioned in 14th Century cookbooks.

Mac and Cheese Recipe

About the Cheese

You can, of course, just use one type of cheese to make this, but I like to use 3 - something strong like mature Cheddar, something creamy like Double Gloucester, and something stringy like Mozzarella.

To cook the macaroni cheese pasta

Add a litre or two of water to a large pot along with a pinch of salt, and bring it to the boil. When it is boiling vigorously, add the pasta and stir it well to make sure it's not sticking to the pan or to itself. Simmer for 1 minute less than the manufacturer recommends, usually 7-9 minutes. The final cooking in the oven will take care of the last minute.

Cook the Bacon

Heat a large frying pan on medium-low heat. Add the bacon lardons. Stir occasionally so the they don't stick. When they're browned and the water from them has evaporated, scoop them out of the pan into a small bowl, but leave the rendered fat behind.

Make the cheese sauce

Add the butter to the bacon fat in the frying pan. Sift in the flour and stir to combine it with the butter. Add the milk, stir to get it well mixed in, and cook for a few minutes until it thickens. Stir in the mustard and herbs, then add about half of the grated cheeses. Cook until the cheese has melted, then remove from the heat. Taste for seasoning - it probably won't need salt because cheese is usually quite salty.

Finish the Mac and Cheese

Preheat you oven to 180°C (320°F) for a fan oven,200°C (356°F) for a conventional one, gas 6. When the pasta is cooked, drain the water off and stir it into the sauce, making sure that every piece of macaroni has its own coating of sauce. Spread half of the pasta/sauce mix in the bottom of an ovenproof casserole dish. Sprinkle half of the remaining cheese on top, then the remaining pasta and sauce. Sprinkle the bacon lardons, and then the rest of the cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbling.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Mac and Cheese on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 250 grams macaroni
 500 ml milk
 50 grams unsalted butter
 50 grams plain white flour
 400 grams assorted cheeses, grated
 1 tsp parsley
 1 tsp oregano
 1 tsp Dijon mustard
 pinch of salt


Water to boil the pasta.

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes.
Cooking time: 20 minutes.
Total time: 25 minutes.