I’m gong to start off this post with an apology. I had thought hard about posting something to incredibly carby, cheesy and delicious in January because, quite frankly, all of this ‘new year new me’ bollocks can just do one. I was pretty damn good at life in 2015 and I don’t see why that should change. I know that some of you might be hitting the gym this Jan (for all you newbies at my gym – kindly sod off and learn how to use the step machine yourself) and might be living off lettuce (ew) but for those people, like me, who couldn’t give a flying toss about the new year, this recipe is for you. It is a little slice of heaven in this hell of a January, with love and kisses and a shit loada cheese, from me to you.
That was not my apology… this is…
We went to this pub for a glass/bottle(s) of wine before we made this so there is a distinct lack of measurements and very blurry photos… Yeah… Soz…
So, this ‘shroom, fancy bacon and sage mac ‘n’ cheese (or, as Jennie HILARIOUSLY called it ‘Heart Attack ‘n’ Cheese… maybe that’s just funny when you’re pissed) is TO DIE FOR!! I mean, my boyf hates mushrooms but, in his own words, ‘that was amazing’ – winner winner mac ‘n’ cheese dinner.
YOU WILL NEED (again, no measurements, measurements are for sober people) to feed 3 very hungry/drunk people:
Sainsbury’s amazing miracle sauce flour (or just regular flour if you can make white sauce from scratch without effing it up, I cannot)
more cheese than you know what to do with
mustard (whole grain or English)
1 pack pancetta
1 pack mushrooms (we went WELL POSH and got shitake mushrooms OOOOOH but you can probably use normal mushrooms and not tell the difference at all)
some fresh sage
2 cloves of garlic
tonnes of black pepper
a slice of bread (to blitz into breadcrumbs)
Preheat your oven to 180ºC and put your pasta on to boil for 5 minutes in a large saucepan – everything will be mixed together in this later. To work out how much pasta I need I just about 1/4 to 1/3 fill the dish I’m using in the oven with pasta, the rest of the space will be full of gooey cheesey and bacon-ey goodness.
Whilst your pasta is boiling, grab a frying pan and add a generous slug of oil. Roughly chop your mushrooms and sage (only use the leaves of the sage and don’t be stingy – it’s a delicate flavour so you need quite a bit). Throw these into the pan with the garlic that you will have crushed up with salt or finely chopped. After a few minutes add the pancetta and let the flavours mingle-wingle together. TBH you could just eat it like this and it’d be freakin delicious but HOLD OFF PEOPLE! Don’t forget the carby cheesey glue that holds all of this together and the soon-to-be crispy breadcrumb and parmesan topping… ooooooh yeeeeeeah…
When your ‘shroomy pancetta is done put it to one side. If it’s a little on the greasy side because you went mental with the oil (crazy cat) then empty the frying pan out on to some kitchen towel to soak up any excess.
By this time your pasta will be done (please don’t forget about it and let it overcook, by the time is goes in the oven it will then be utter mush, not cool).
Right, white sauce. I use Mary Berry’s trusted recipe* but instead of regular flour I use Sainsbury’s sauce flour. For some reason, if I use regular flour, I end up having to add half a tonne of corn flour to thicken it up. Again, our measurements were complete guesswork but one thing I will tell you is that it’s better to make too much white sauce than too little. Dry mac ‘n’ cheese is shit but if you have too much sauce (HA is there such a thing!?) then you can either a) clean out the pan like a scavenger or b) freeze it for a later date.
*if you need to measure – use equal amount of flour and butter (for 4 people general rule is 1oz/30g of each) and melt together in a saucepan, gently add milk until and stir continuously until it turns into delicious creamy (hopefully lump free but if it isn’t just get a fork in there) white sauce.
Once your white sauce has thickened – if it gets too thick then add a little more milk – add a teaspoon of mustard, some black pepper and a mountain of cheddar cheese. Like, you know how you think you’ve put enough cheese in..? Go buy more cheese. Make sure you have a taste to see if it needs more pepper, mustard or cheese (probs does).
SO! Sauce is thick and artery-cloggingly cheesey, pancetta mushroom and sage mixture is fragrant and delicious and pasta is half cooked. Combine everything back into your large pasta saucepan and tip everthing – don’t be sneaking bits of pancetta you cheeky thing – back into your oven proof dish.
Blitz your slice of bread into breadcrumbs and sprinkle this over the top of your mac ‘n’ cheese, top with parmesan and black pepper.
This should take about 30minutes in the oven – when the top is brown and crispy and the sides are bubbling we’re ready to rock.
Serve with a large glass of Sauvignon, a blanket and Netflix.