ULTIMATE MAC & CHEESE

Lovely people, we are going to make the most incredible mac and cheese. I’ve got a recipe for you that’s going to blow your mind. You interested? Let’s do this.

First up, a nice big knob of butter into a pan. Finely slice three of these onions. As the butter comes up to the heat, 15 minutes to make these onions go sweet and gorgeous. Medium-high heat, a stir every now and again. Beautiful. So after 15 minutes you can see the onions have shrunk back down. It’s lightly golden. So I’ll take three tablespoons of flour and that’s our thickening agent to turn our milk into a silky gorgeous sauce and that will immediately suck up all of the moisture from the onions. And then I’ve got a liter of milk. So slowly, slowly we’ll add that milk. As soon as it’s absorbed, we’ll add some more. So the rest of the milk goes in and we’re going to let that simmer while we cook the pasta.

So of course we’re using macaroni. I’m only going to cook this for five minutes. I want to half cook the pasta and then let this simmer while we get onto the other flavorings of this sauce. So when it comes to choosing the cheese, you could do one, of course you could, but I want to do it in my style, right? I want that balance of flavor, depth of flavor, and stringiness, ooziness. 100 grams of cheddar. Now that’s a good flavor and a good melter. Then we’re going to go to a really stringy, gorgeous cheese. So this is a Raclette, but you could absolutely use a lovely Gruyere. 100 grams goes in like that. And then, Parmesan. I’ll do that on a finer side. And Parmesan just has that amazing ability to join up flavors, make it all make sense.

Now let’s just talk about nutrition. This is not a green dish, but it is one of the most beautiful things ever, but also as indulgent as this is, it’s a brilliant carrier of seasonal veggies. So lovely fresh or frozen peas, bang. Amazing. Get an asparagus in there, fantastic. Handful of spinach. But today we’re keeping it really simple and this pasta has had nearly five minutes. Get into this pasta water and steal some of this starchy water and we might need that later.

We’ve only half cooked the pasta and there’s a good reason for that because when it carried on its journey of cooking, it’s sucking up that flavor, not water. So I’ll get that in and I’ll save back just a little bit for on top later. A teaspoon of English mustard gives it an amazing color and gentle heat. A little hack of a friend of mine that they swore by and I tried it and I did it as a blind taste because I swore that it wouldn’t work and it did. Mango chutney, one teaspoon. Slightly strange, but go with it. We’re going to add a little bit of this starchy water to get ooziness and silkiness. So it’s really important to do this off the heat. We don’t want to be boiling cheese.

At this point, end of story, we go in with our macaroni, give it a nice little toss up. I’m excited and I forgot one seasoning. Of course Worcestershire sauce. A good couple of little swigs in there and we are good to go. We’re going to take this gorgeous silky pasta-ry goodness. Look at that. So that goes in the oven for half an hour at 200 degrees Celsius, which is 400 Fahrenheit. Now what I want to do to make it even better is contrast that creamy, cheesy gorgeousness. So we’re going to make a pangritata. Bacon, herb, garlic. What’s not to love? As it starts to get lightly golden, that is your cue to put the breadcrumbs in and these flavored breadcrumbs are like gift on a simple pasta dish, even lovely stews. Amazing.

These breadcrumbs have gone golden and crunchy. They smell amazing. Come on, half an hour. Oh, look at that. Come on. Mac and cheese beautifulness. Crack. Oh come on. You know it makes sense. A few beautiful salad leaves, the ultimate smokey bacon. Crispy bits. Enough talking, let’s just eat it. That’s what we want, nice cheesy bits.

The depth of flavor is off the hook. One of the things I like to do, which is my own personal problem, is to take a vulnerable, empty gem lettuce leaf and then load it with mac and cheese. And I actually do this at home and my kids are around the table and they just look at me going, “You are such an idiot. But then when they try it, they realize that I’m a missionary trying to make the world a better place through mac and cheese. Don’t judge me. I say no more, but click the link and cook it. You’ll love it.

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