You need one mac and cheese dish in your life, make it this one
This epic, gooey, mac n’ cheese dish, ticks all the comfort-food boxes.
And Jamie Oliver delivers us this beauty.
- SERVES: 6
- PREP TIME: 5 mins
- COOK TIME: 45 mins
- DIFFICULTY: easy
- IDEAL FOR: midweek meal, comfort food, family meal, crowd-pleaser, hang-over ‘cure’
Epic, gooey, mac n’ cheese
No, this is not a healthy dish.
Yes, this is a gooey, oozy, messy, dish that you will need to have a sleep after you tuck into it.
But don’t we all need a little, cheesy, comfort food from time to time?
And it could even be your next hangover cure! Wouldn’t that be nicer than a dried-up, Macdonald’s burger?
But there are a few golden rules to making the best mac and cheese.
Golden mac and cheese rules
1: The roux (“roo”)
Basically, a roux is a fancy (French) name for a mix of equal parts melted butter and flour, cooked for a minute or two over medium heat.
It’s to help thicken a sauce, keeps it from splitting, and makes it nice and creamy.
Next, you add milk slowly to get a white sauce.
2: The cheese sauce
Once you have added the milk, you then add the cheese.
And our fancy French terminology continues:
- the mix of roux and milk is called a béchamel ( “BEH-sha-mel”)
- adding cheese makes it a mornay sauce
Tips to a gooey cheesy sauce
- Start with warm milk. It helps blend into the warm roux.
- Add the milk slowly and whisk the roux. The roux will thin out, then it will thicken up.
- Continue whisking the milk and it will loosen into a creamy sauce.
- Thicken and add cheese. Let bubble stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, then stir in the grated cheese, and let it melt.
What cheese to use
You need to use grated cheddar cheese.
And for this ultimate mac and cheese, a combination of cheddar cheese with gruyere.
Then a little sprinkling of Parmesan on top of the casserole before baking and after.
Bake until bubbly
Mix the cheesy sauce into the cooked pasta, pour that mess into a dish, top it with some bread crumbs (like panko), and bake it until crispy on top and bubbly below.
Need some greens?
Look, this isn’t your healthy meal.
It’s a cheap, decadent treat.
And to make it even better, I add crispy bacon lardons!
But, you can add in some greens to get some of your 5-a-day.
So, things like frozen peas and cooked broccoli can easily be thrown in.
For another inexpensive pasta dish, visit here.
Is this the all-American dish?
I thought it was.
But apparently, the exact origin is unknown.
But most likely comes from Northern Europe, with the earliest known recipe being written down in 1769.
The Americans took a shine to it when Thomas Jefferson, visited France and fell in love with a pasta dish served there.
As president, he served macaroni and cheese at an 1802 state dinner.
Epic, gooey, mac n’ cheese
- 1 knob of butter
- 3 onions, sliced
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 litre milk
- 500 g macaroni
- 100 g grated cheddar
- 100 g grated gruyere
- 100 g grated parmesan
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 200 g bacon lardons or streaky bacon, chopped
- 200 g panko breadcrumbs
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F
- Grate the cheddar, gruyere and parmesan and have it ready for a bit later.
- In a pan, on medium-high heat, add a large knob of butter. Once it melts, add the sliced onion and let cook until soft and caramalised (approx. 10 mins).
- Next, add 3 tbsp flour and stir in with the onions. Then slowly pour in the milk a little at a time, whisking all the time (this is making a roux). Simmer gently.Cook the macaroni until half cooked. Drain but keep a little of the starchy water to the side.
- Add the cheddar, gruyere and a little parmesan (keep the rest for later) to the roux and stir until it's melted in and a gooey sauce. Do this off the heat. Add a tsp of mustard and Worcestershire sauce, then add a little of the starchy pasta water to help make the sauce nice and creamy.Pour in the pasta, and mix it all together.
- Transfer to a deep baking dish, sprinkle the rest of the parmesan on top and pop in the oven for 30 mins at 200C/400F.
- In a frying pan on medium-high heat, cook your bacon lardons until nice and crispy. Add in your panko and mix through. Cook for another minute of two until the panko is golden.Add in some chopped parsley and serve sprinkle on top of the mac and cheese.