Mac and cheese or macaroni cheese to us Brits is one of those foods that just makes you feel good.
Our American cousins can thank US president Thomas Jefferson and his chef James Hemings for introducing mac and cheese. The president included it on the menu at a state dinner in 1802.
Canadians are the largest consumer of the packaged version worldwide. They eat 25% of the 7 million produced each week by Kraft Dinner according to Wikipedia.
Mac and Cheese
- 100 g butter plus extra for greasing
- 100 g plain flour
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1.2 litres full-fat milk
- 75 ml double cream
- 1 bay leaf
- 400 cheddar cheese mature, grated
- 1 pinch nutmeg freshly grated
- 500 g dried macaroni
- 100 g smoked bacon lardons or smoked pancetta cubes
- 60 g white breadcrumbs
- 50 g Parmesan grated
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 and grease a 35x20cm/14x8in ovenproof dish..
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the plain flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the mustard, take the pan off the heat and gradually whisk in the milk and cream. Add the bay leaf.
- Put the pan back over the heat, stirring constantly, until it boils and thickens. Take the pan off the heat again, remove the bay leaf and add the cheddar. Stir until the cheese has melted. Season with lots of black pepper and some nutmeg.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and stir in the macaroni. Cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente, drain well and add to the sauce.
- Fry the bacon in a frying pan until crisp. Stir into the macaroni cheese and pour the mixture into the ovenproof dish.
- Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and scatter over the top. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbling. Serve immediately.
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