Being a vegetarian, mac n cheese is often the go-to on the menu when lunching out so I’m fairly confident I can pass judgement when it comes to deciding what makes a decent macaroni cheese.
And while, yes, you can just stick with a standard cheese sauce and pasta job, it can also be a great way to sneak some vegetables into a family meal – try adding a tin of sweetcorn, or just a really tasty meal which can be prepared ahead. This version, however, is a much fancier version which will satisfy anyone who likes having meat with every meal.
Don’t feel that you have to buy breadcrumbs buy the way, just whizz up some end bread crusts in a food processor. I usually make myself a small vegetarian version by leaving out the pancetta or substituting with Quorn bacon piece. I just bake in a small separate dish.
Serve on its own, with salad, garlic bread or corn on the cob. Either way, it’s one meal which I know is going to get the thumbs up from my ravenous teenagers.
- 250g/9oz macaroni
- 40g/1½oz butter
- 40g/1½ plain flour
- 600ml/1pint 1½fl oz milk
- 250g/9oz grated cheddar
- 1/2 bunch spring onions
- 130g pancetta
- a packet of mozzarella cheese cut into slices
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp chives
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 6 sliced cherry tomatoes – sliced
- 2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
- salt & pepper to season
- boil a pan of water and add the macaroni according to packet instructions
- dry fry the pancetta in a saucepan
- remove and set aside
- using the same pan, melt the butter then add the chopped spring onions and cook until soft
- add the flour and mustard powder stirring until it’s all combined
- slowly start adding the milk stirring between each addition to avoid any lumps,
- add the basil and grated cheddar
- bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened
- strain the cooked macaroni then combine with the sauce and pancetta
- transfer to an ovenproof dish, layer the sliced mozzarella top with breadcrumbs
- finish with the sliced tomatoes and a sprinkle of chives
- bake in a preheated oven at 180′ for 25 minutes.