If you give an ounce of anything about your calorie intake then look away now. Just go, because I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that this is probably 5000 calories per portion. Now that we have reached sub-arctic temperatures in London, we need to get insulated (ie. eat lots), so as far as I’m concerned this dish is a perfect winter mid-week dinner.
Right, to serve 4 you will need:
pasta or macaroni
3 tablespoons of sauce flour
450ml milk (full milk is best, none of this skimmed crap)
2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
ground black pepper
CHEESE!!!! I used 150g of cheddar – grated – & 70g of brie, with the rind cut off & eaten separately with chutney – waste not want not.
4 rashers of smoked bacon or 200g of pancetta
a handful of cherry tomatoes – halved.
Right, a lot of guesswork went into this but it’s so easy-peasy that you don’t need proper measurements (except the sauce…white sauce can go so wrong).
Oven needs to be at 200º/gas mark 6. Find a dish that you think will be big enough to serve 4 people then half fill it with pasta. Combined with the pasta expanding and the volume of the sauce, this will be enough to fill your dish. Put your pasta on to boil until it’s ‘al dente’. The rest of the cooking will be done in the oven.
Whilst your pasta is cooking, fry your bacon until it’s nice and crispy, then pop this into the bottom of your dish and set to one side.
Everything is better with bacon. Fact.
For your sauce, mix your sauce flour (Sainsbury’s sell this and it was a lifesaver for me. I have never been able to make white sauce from scratch without ringing mum and wailing ‘but why won’t it thicken!?’ down the phone). Anyway, mix this with the milk and whisk like mad over a low heat until it’s nice and thick. Get right in there with the whisk to make sure you don’t get lumpy sauce. Nobody likes lumpy sauce.
Once your sauce has thickened take it off your heat and stir in your mustard, your grated cheese and the brie. Don’t use all of your cheddar, some needs to go on top for bubbly crispy goodness. Now, the better quality cheese you use the better your mac ‘n’ cheese will taste (duh..), so don’t skimp on cheap cheese unless you don’t want to taste it. The reason you de-rind the brie is because it won’t melt into the sauce, which you want to be nice and smoothy-smooth. Add a twist of pepper and your sauce is ready to rock ‘n’ roll.
Stir your sauce into your pasta and pour this into the dish on top of your bacon. Sprinkle the last of your cheese on top and lay out your tomatoes.
Bung your dish into the oven for 20-30 minutes. Until it’s bubbling up the sides, is all crispy on top and looks FIT.
Devour with a dollop of chutney, and don’t feel guilty. Ain’t nobody got time for that.