Macaroni Cheese has to be one of my favourite meals. Soft pasta, a creamy and smooth sauce, strong and tangy cheese – what’s not to love?! Other than the fact that I WILL be the size of a house if I ate it as much as I wanted to…
Okay, so it might not be the healthiest thing in the world, but you know those days where you come home, it’s cold, and you need a hug and comfort food to put things right? Mac’n’Cheese is my quick-fix for nights like that.
But Mac’n’Cheese can be quite a subjective thing. I like mine made with a mix of cheddar and Parmesan, many sneer at my addition of the latter. I much prefer to use proper Macaroni, my boyfriend invariably uses Fusilli. I think bacon only improves things, and frankfurters are a wonderful addition, purists would be in uproar. I love mine topped with breadcrumbs and grilled until crispy, Will just grills with extra cheese, many eat it ungrilled. I like my sauce super thick, some recipes produce lots of runny sauce. I could go on and on.
I’ve made a healthier Mac’n’Cheese with creme-fraiche. It definitely hits the spot, causes significantly less washing up – but that sauce is definitely lacking something. It’s not as thick, not as decadent, and it doesn’t hug the pasta quite right. Still yummy, but it’s not a cuddle on a plate.
Going the other way, if you want to make your bechamel sauce extra thick, tasty and cheesy? Add a spoon of cottage cheese in there. I did this in the summer and whilst I almost put myself into a food coma (I made far too much. And ate it all.) it was damn delicious. Try it and see.
Photo courtesy of The Londoner who wrote the original recipe mine is based on. I cooked the recipe way before getting my camera and I’m not keen on re-promoting my old photography skills…
Going down the “I’m-a-student-who-hates-washing-up” route, One Pan Mac’n’Cheese is definitely the way to go. The pasta is slowly simmered with a mixture of water and milk, with cheese being added at the end to create the sauce. It can end up a little thin, but it’s just the thing for a super-quick dinner, or even a lunch (shhh!).
Then there’s the time I added a vegetable to my Mac’n’Cheese. The cauliflower version wasn’t bad exactly, I’m just not the biggest love of cauliflower. And it completely interfered with the soft texture of the rest of the dish. The bacon saved it, I ate it, I’d make it again if I had cauliflower to use up (unlikely). But pure pasta is definitely the way to go.
Let’s not forget my determination to create Mac’n’Cheese, in a mug, in a microwave. I’ve finally cracked the recipe, now I just need to make it again (such a hard life!) and photograph it all!
So, my best mac’n’cheese? For me, the perfect Mac is made with macaroni, has a thick cheesy sauce, tangy with a little mustard, dotted with bacon, topped with cheesy breadcrumbs and blasted under the grill until crispy. My go-to cheesy sauce recipe is this one – the one used in the meal my boyfriend seduced me with.
In fact, if I could eat his Mac’n’Cheese every night I probably would!
Are you a fan of Mac’n’Cheese? What’s your go-to recipe?