Mac & Cheese isn't rocket science - just cook pasta, add cheese sauce and bung it in the oven ! - but I've been tweaking my recipe and think I now have the Ultimate Mac& Cheese recipe to share with you. (Unless you prefer my Mac & Cheese with Spinach & Bacon for sneaking in some extra veg.)
Ultimate Mac & Cheese
250g dried pasta
1 pint (500ml) of cheddar cheese sauce (homemade or cheat and use 2 packets with 500ml milk)
1/2 tsp each of smoked paprika, oregano, garlic salt, black pepper
optional : leftover cooked meat (I had some beefburgers and pork belly from the weekend BBQ - bacon, smoked ham or chicken also works well)
drizzle of olive oil
1 large onion
generous sprinkle of parmesan
generous sprinkle of dried breadcrumbs
1 large tomato
1/2 ball of mozzarella
Cook the pasta, drain and put in an ovenproof dish. (Or use up leftover cooked pasta that is lingering in the fridge.)
Heat the oil in a pan and gently cook the onion until it is soft and translucent but not browned.
Dice the cooked meats and add to the pasta, along with the onion. Toss to mix everything up.
Make up the cheese sauce, add the herbs and spices and mix in to the pasta. (Use a packet or if you want to make your own, melt a large knob of butter in a saucepan and stir in a few tablespoonfuls of flour. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring so it doesn't burn. Add a dash of milk and mix to a smooth paste before adding the rest of the pint of milk. Bring to the boil, stirring continually with a whisk or fork. When it rises up, reduce the heat, stir in the cheese and continue to cook for a couple of minutes until it thickens.)
Now these are my secret ingredients - sprinkle generously all over with parmesan then dried breadcrumbs for some lovely crunch. Scatter chunks of mozzarella all over the top for gooey oozy cheesiness. Trail a line of tomato slices down the middle so you can pretend it's a little bit healthy !
Put in the oven at 180° for about half an hour until beautifully golden and melted on top.
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As this used up some cooked pasta and leftover BBQ, I'll add it to this month's #KitchenClearout linkie.