Yep. Whisky Mac’n’Cheese. The perfect Burn’s Night supper. I’ve already made a boozy mac’n’cheese before (see my one-pan beer’n’bacon mac’n’cheese) and, quite frankly, if you’ve never mixed booze and bacon together, you are missing out. Add cheese and, done right, you end up with a bowl of complete awesomeness.
The sauce for this mac’n’cheese is creamy and rich. Whilst the whisky-taste does infuse the sauce, it doesn’t overpower. The overwhelming taste is cheese, but there’s a subtle smokiness which works so well. Add in some salty-sweet bursts of whisky-glazed bacon and some insanely savoury super-crunchy breadcrumbs.
This recipe is inspired by one originally appearing in the Waitrose Weekend Magazine (and found online here). We’ve edited slightly, increasing the sauce to pasta ratio, making LOTS of breadcrumbs, and making the mix of cheeses more to our taste.
Recipe – serves 2 very generously
- 150g essential Waitrose Macaroni
- 30g butter (+20g for the bacon)
- 30g plain flour
- 75ml whisky
- 1/2 pint milk (around 280ml)
- 1/2 tsp mustard (we used English, if using Dijon add a bit more)
- 50g comté, rind removed and grated (use all cheddar if you’re struggling to find some)
- 50g mature cheddar, grated (a smoked cheddar would be very good here)
- 40g parmesan
- 3 rashers smoked bacon
- 50g fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped
Boil the macaroni for 6 minutes, then drain and reserve the cooking water.
Meanwhile, glaze your bacon. Chop the bacon very finely, and fry in 10g butter over a high heat until golden and starting to crisp. Add half of the whisky and cook until it has completely evaporated, and the bacon is glazed and crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Then make the sauce. Melt the 30g butter, then stir in the flour over a low heat to make a thick paste. Remove from the heat and slowly add half of the whisky, stirring continuously until incorporated. Return to the heat and gradually add all of the milk, stirring constantly. Heat until the sauce is just below the simmering point, and cook stirring continuously for 10 minutes, until thick and smooth. Remove the sauce from the heat, add the mustard, comté, cheddar, 3/4 of the parmesan and seasoning (plenty of black pepper!).
Mix the macaroni, a third of the bacon and the reserved cooking water into the sauce, then spoon into a large ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over the remaining parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes at 180C, it should be bubbling and golden.
Melt the remaining butter in the frying pan, then add the rosemary and breadcrumbs. Cook for 5 or so minutes, stirring every so often, until the breadcrumbs are golden and crisp. Add the rest of the bacon to reheat. When the mac’n’cheese is cooked, sprinkle the bacon-crumb mixture over just before serving.
This is rich, so I highly recommend a good crunchy salad to go with it! And a dram of whisky of course…
Are you a whisky fan? Will you be celebrating Burn’s Night?