This recipe is so simple but so delicious. There is nothing like a plate of cheesy, creamy Macaroni Cheese when it is cold or when you are hungry. And the kids absolutely love it. They are always ‘guaranteed’ to clean their plates! This recipe includes smoked bacon, which adds a salty and crunchy note to the macaroni. If you or the kids don’t like it though, just leave it out. Enjoy!
Serves 8 (It freezes well.)
500 grams Macaroni (actually – you can use any pasta you want)
250 grams Good Quality Smoked Bacon
25 grams Butter
200 grams Grated Cheese (I love to use a strong cheddar)
1 litre Béchamel
half teaspoon English or Continental Mustard (leave this out if you prefer)
to taste Salt and Pepper
This makes 1 litre.
100 grams Butter
100 grams Plain Flour
1 litre Warmed Milk (any sort will do)
1 Bay Leaf
1 Onion, studded with a Clove (you can omit this if you prefer, though it does give a lovely flavour. The Bay Leaf I would recommend leaving in however, it imparts a delicious flavour to the sauce.)
- Pour the macaroni into a large pan of boiling water. Stir, turn down the heat if necessary and stir occasionally. It will take approx. 10 -15 minutes to cook.
- Once cooked, drain the macaroni and return to the empty pan with the 25 grams of butter, stir. (The butter keeps the Macaroni from sticking together.)
- For the Béchamel, melt the 100 grams of butter in a thick bottomed pan. If you suspect your pan is a little thin, use a gentle heat and stir constantly. The sauce will take longer to thicken though.
- Add the flour and mix in. Cook for a few minutes over a gentle heat without colouring the flour.
- Remove the butter/flour mix from the heat.
- Slowly pour in the warmed milk, stirring fast to ensure no lumps form. Remember it is easier to remove any lumps from a thick sauce, rather than a thin one – so don’t add the milk all at once, but rather bit by bit.
- Add the studded onion and bay leaf.
- Gently simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 mins, or until the ‘floury’ taste has gone. (i.e. the flour has been cooked!)
- While the sauce is simmering, slice your bacon to your desired size and cook until browned and crisp. Put to one side to cool a little. Don’t drain – the ‘juices’ can be added to the macaroni cheese for wonderful added flavour.
- Remove the bay leaf and onion from the Béchamel Sauce.
- Add the cheese, bacon and pan juices, mustard and Béchamel to the macaroni.
- Season to taste.
- Stir until well combined.
- Serve immediately, or pour into a oven dish, sprinkle with extra cheese and brown the top under the grill