ok so an old favourite with a little extra jazz. Proper comfort food. Macaroni and cheese!
This is really simple. The only tricky bit is getting the white sauce right. If you can master that then this will be awesome. You can’t really go wrong. As long as you have loads of cheese then you’re onto a winner.
For this you are going to need.
good quality mature cheddar
parmesan fresh not pre grated please
full cream milk – about 2-3 pints warmed up in a pan and kept on at a gentle heat.
butter – real butter please none of this fake spread crap. A cheese sauce is not supposed to be healthy. You don’t eat this kind of thing all the time.
nutmeg – whole if you can so you can freshly grate it
500g pasta – you can get macaroni pasta or use fusilli or some other cool shaped stuff. Don’t use penne. It’s the most boring crap pasta shape in the world. I have some kind of irrational hatred for penne.
cherry or those small plum tomatoes – 2 big handfuls at least. Id say it’s about 500 grams or so.
1. First thing. The cheese sauce. In a large deep sauce pan melt about 40 grams of butter over a medium heat. Once it’s melted add 2 heaped tablespoons of flour and a pinch of salt. Mix this up really well so its a smooth paste and keep this moving around for a few mins so the flour cooks off a bit. If you are going to put onions in it, get 4 onions and finely slice. Add them to a pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and cook down slowly until they are nice and soft and caramelised. This should take about 20 mins so if you start it when you start the sauce it should be ready at the same time.
Now add 2 ladles of milk. don’t mix until the milk has started to bubble (this will help it to not go lumpy). Now mix really well until it’s a thick smooth paste. Once mixed add more milk. Again, wait for the milk to bubble before mixing. Keep doing this bit by bit until you have a nice thick smooth white sauce. It should be like double cream consistency.
2. At this point get your pasta on the boil in salted water. Cook for 6 minutes then drain. The pasta will be undercooked. don’t worry it will finish off cooking in the oven.
3. While the pasta is cooking grate the cheese. I’d say you want about 300-500 grams of cheddar and the same of parmesan. (it depends how much of a cheese freak you are really) Now add the cheddar cheese and 3/4 of the parmesan to the white sauce and mix well. Season with a load of pepper and a few grates of nutmeg.
4. the sauce should be nice and thick now. You don’t want it too thick as it will thicken in the oven a bit. If the cheese has made the sauce too thick then add a bit more milk to thin it down a bit. If you want to be a bit fancy add a handful of fresh basil. At this point add the cooked onions to the sauce.
5. Ok so now grab a suitable deep oven dish. something like a large pyrex dish is great. Get your pasta in the dish, add the cherry tomatoes whole and pour over the sauce and mix well. once everything is mixed up sprinkle over a handful of breadcrumbs and the remaining parmesan cheese and a grate of pepper.
6. Pop in the oven on 180°C for 25-30 mins. Once the top is all nice and golden and crunchy get out the oven and let to rest for a bit. It will be seriously hot.
Serve with a nice mixed salad and some crusty bread. Watch out, the tomatoes will be stupidly hot. Some people say they are actually hotter than the surface of the sun. Just the heat from one of them could power a small town for a week. You have been warned. Once everything is on the plate you can smush up the tomatoes into the sauce to avoid the danger.