Mac and Cheese Please

My New Year resolve to eat better is stuttering already and with plenty of chocolate biscuits still hanging around it is difficult to stop the post festive grazing.

Leaving the salad ingredients in the work fridge does not exactly assist matters either, but my inability to eat clean has led to me to conclude January is not the optimum month to start dieting.

If you think about it logically it makes sense. The euphoria of Christmas has well and truly faded and those nice Fox’s Favourite biscuits with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine would lift your spirits.

The funds are nearly dry and admittedly a week’s worth of fresh fruit and vegetables will lighten the load on your stomach but will also lighten your purse – healthy eating don’t come cheap.

So with half a month to go the obvious solution is ease yourself into the New Year and start calorie counting in February. I recommend taking a guilt free break from the salads to indulge in the comforting (and slightly calorific) Macaroni and Cheese.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

Homemade cheese sauce is essential; supermarket bought cheese sauces are often too cheesy and just don’t smell right (apologies Mr Tesco I know you have enough on your plate without me berating your cheese sauce) and with a little bit of effort making your own sauce tastes so much better.

This dish is a saviour on an evening when you are struggling for dinner ideas or not feeling flush – chances are there will be butter, cheese, flour and a packet of dry pasta in the kitchen.

For a gluten free version use cornflour instead of flour and wheat free pasta.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 70g mature cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 pint of milk
  • 40 grams of plain flour (or corn flour)
  • 40 grams of butter
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 500 grams of macaroni pasta
  • 6-8 slices of Streaky bacon (optional

Method

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan and sieve in the flour.
  • Mix together to make a paste and gradually stir in the milk over a low heat.

    Mixing the butter and flour to form a paste.

    Mixing the butter and flour to form a paste.

  • Once the flour has dissolved into the milk, turn up the heat, bring the sauce to a boil and stir regularly.
  • Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water.
  • Grill the bacon until crispy and cut into small shards.
  • Add the bacon, a teaspoon of nutmeg, white pepper, salt and 50grams of cheese to the sauce.
  • Turn down the heat and gently simmer, allowing the cheese to melt into the sauce.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  • Heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  • Drain the pasta and transfer to an oven proof dish and cover with the cheese sauce.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and dust with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Transfer to the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes until the top layer of cheese is golden brown.
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