Mac and Cheese

Every now and again, I make a super unhealthy Mac and Cheese for our work lunches.

Ben loves it, because it’s not curry.

I am not a huge fan of pasta, I find it is just not filling enough for me, and it doesn’t give me the satisfied feeling that rice does. I also hate tomato based pasta dishes.

I do like cream based pastas, and especially pastas that heavily feature seafood.

So the only pasta Ben sees from me is Mac and Cheese, and Spaghetti Bolognese, only because he likes bolognese and I love him . On those weeks we have Spag Bol, I make Spag Bol for him, and then I have my “special” lunches.

My Mac and Cheese recipe is a mostly complete meal, it has no veges, and only the most unhealthy but super yummy bechamel cheese sauce. I make it all from scratch, no cheating here.

I would not recommend changing the quantities, it can make for a very unbalanced mac and cheese. Try to resist the urge to add more macaroni. You need a lot of sauce with that pasta because the pasta soaks so much and it otherwise cooks down. Over-dry mac and cheese is such a disappointment – don’t do it! Also resist the urge to add more cheese to the sauce. This can do weird things. Sprinkle more in between and on top if you must have more cheese.

If you are not keen on chorizo or bacon, try chicken thigh or even seafood. I try to avoid using red meat in my mac and cheese, I always feel like it will bleed into it, and make it weird. Red meats are only for tomato based pastas, I have decided. But absolutely fry off some diced up chicken thigh, or de-shell prawns (that’ll make for the most upmarket mac and cheese ever!), and just chuck it in there.

Hope you enjoy the end product!

Serves: Makes 8-9 lunches, depends on your portion size. If you are a light eater, you could stretch it out to 10 meals

Prep and cooking time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups of macaroni pasta

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon smokey paprika plus more for sprinkling on top

2 1/2 cups milk

3 cups grated cheese

3 primo chorizo, peel off casing, and thickly slice

6 slices of rindless shortcut bacon, thickly sliced

Instructions

  1. Boil the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside. (Mix in a little butter/olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking if it’s going to be awhile before you make the sauce)
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  3. On to our bechamel sauce. To a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the garlic, flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon smokey paprika. With a whisk, stir constantly for three minutes.
  4. Add the milk in a thin stream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Continue to stir constantly until the sauce thickens, about 10-12 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of the grated cheese, stirring until melted.
  6. In a fry pan, fry off sliced chorizo and bacon until some of the fats render off.
  7. Pour the fried meats and cheese sauce over the pasta and toss gently until all of the pasta is coated.
  8. Add half the pasta to a baking dish. Sprinkle on half the cheese. Add the rest of the pasta. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, then dust lightly with the smoked paprika.
  9. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the mac and cheese starts getting slightly dry and a tiny bit brown on top.
  10. Your Mac and Cheese is now ready to be served.

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