My eldest son would not eat macaroni cheese until he saw a science programme describing the chemistry of cooking. In the programme, they made macaroni cheese. He was so interested that he asked me to make one. I remember saying but, you don’t like macaroni cheese. They described how Parmesan cheese was a natural flavour enhancer.
So I started experimenting to make a macaroni cheese that he would like and this is what I came up with. I make my white sauce in the microwave, but you can make it the traditional way of starting with a roux. I don’t know when I learnt this method and I know chefs will be holding their arms up in disgust, but it’s just my way. I think this is one of the few things I do in a microwave.
- 1 Large Leek
- 180g Mushrooms
- 105g Pancetta
- 50g Cornflour
- 50g Butter
- Pint Milk
- 3tbsp Yogurt
- 1 1/2tsp Dijon Mustard
- 170g Cheddar Cheese
- 50g Parmesan
- 120ml Cooking Liquid from the Pasta
- 350g Macaroni
- 1/4 pint cream (optional)
- Heat some oil in a frying pan and start by frying your chopped leeks.
- Chop the mushrooms and add them to the slightly softened leek.
- Let these cook for a minute and then add the chopped pancetta.
- Let these fry down until they are slightly caramelised.
- Once this has done and (it can take 15-20 minutes) keep an eye on them and stir occasionally.
- Once finished put to one side.
- Now make the white sauce (instructions for sauce are below).
- Add the leek, mushrooms and pancetta to the cheese sauce and stir to mix.
- Cook the macaroni as per the instructions on the packet.
- Once it’s boiling, take some of the cooking water and set to one side.
- Once the pasta is cooked drain.
- Now add the white sauce to the pasta (Note. if it’s too thick add a little of the pasta water to help loosen).
- Mix until the pasta is covered in the cheese sauce.
- Pour into a baking dish.
- Bake in the oven at 200C for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and heated through.
- Remove from the oven and leave to stand for five minutes.
Cheese Sauce Recipe:
- Put the 50g of cornflour in a microwave-proof bowl.
- Pour over a little of the milk and stir in the cornflour to slacken, then gradually add the remaining milk until all combined.
- Add the 50g butter and place in the microwave.
- Heat for a minute, take out and stir.
- Keep heating for a minute until the butter has melted and you can mix it in.
- Keep heating and stirring until the sauce has thickened.
- Season to taste and stir in the 3tbsp of yoghurt and the Dijon mustard.
- Add the cream
- Once this is mixed add both the cheeses and stir until melted.