Macaroni Cheese De Luxe

This has to be in my top five all time favourite things to eat and now I've tried this recipe I won't really use anything else. It's quite time consuming and it makes enough for an army but that's fine by me. I can spend a lot of time testing the cheese sauce is just right and then have loads of individual portions in the freezer so I can eat this whenever I want. Perfect!

This recipe is from Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities as part of her Christmas Eve supper for 10-12 people. It is fantastic to have in the freezer over Christmas and New Year for those days when you are too exhausted to cook and to soothe the night before the dreaded return to work. I know that there is a quicker version in Nigella Express and maybe, for sake of comparison, I will do that one next time but for those who want the ultimate Macaroni Cheese recipe this is it. Sometimes i crisp up some Oscar Meyer bacon and sprinkle  it in when I pour the sauce over the pasta but really it doesn't need it.

Unless you have a huge oven dish (Nigella recommends 36cm x 26cm x 6cm deep) you will need two or three - I can just about fit all of this into my two largest ones. You will need two large saucepans too - one for the pasta and one for the sauce - I have to do my macaroni in two batches which is slightly annoying.You can serve this with salad if you wish... I don't think it really needs it.

Macaroni Cheese De Luxe

For 10-12

175g soft butter, plus more for greasing
150g plain flour
2 tsps Dijon mustard
3 x 170g cans evaporated milk, 500ml total
1.5 litres semi-skimmed milk
2 x 500g packets macaroni
275g Emmental, chopped or grated
300g red Leicester or Cheddar, chopped or grated
75g Parmesan, chopped or grated
salt

Quite often I find that Emmental comes in smaller packets of 240g and cheddar in 350g so I just use all of those to make up the difference. I actually find the taste is a bit better as I get the strongest cheddar I can find...

Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7 and grease your roasting dish with butter.

1. Start heating a large pan full of water on the hob for the pasta.

2. Put another pan (with a lid), though not quite as big, to heat on the hob for the cheese sauce; melt the butter over a medium/low heat, add the flour, stirring until you have formed a roux. Cook, still stirring, for 5 minutes over a low heat.

Roux


3. Add the Dijon mustard to the pan and stir well, then take off the heat.

4. Pour the evaporated milk and the fresh milk into a jug and slowly whisk this into the roux. Be patient or you will get lumps.

White sauce


5. When you have whisked in all the liquid, put the pan back on the heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for about 10-15 minutes, or until the flouriness has gone.

6. When the sauce is ready, add the chopped or grated cheeses (reserving a handful). Stir until the cheese has melted, season to taste and take off the heat, with a lid so no skin forms.

7. Meanwhile when the water from the first pan has come to the boil, salt it extravagantly and cook the macaroni for a couple of minutes less than directed on the packet and drain.

8. Tip the drained pasta into the prepared dish and scrape the cheese sauce on top. If you are going to add bacon bits, do so now. With a couple of spatulas or your wooden spoon mix together until the pasta is coated in the sauce.

Cling-filmed macaroni ready for the cheese


9. Sprinkle over the reserved cheeses and transfer to the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the top has scorched slightly and the underneath is bubbling. This is best left to stand for 20 minutes or so out of the oven before serving.

Finished macaroni cheese


To make ahead: Get to the end of stage 8, cool. cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Remove the macaroni from the fridge while the oven is heating and cover with foil. Place the dish in the oven for 20 minutes, then uncover, sprinkle over the reserved cheeses and reheat for a further 20-30 mins until piping hot and golden.

To freeze: Get to the end of stage 8, cool, cover and freeze for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as above.

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1 comments

  1. combine this with Midsommer Murders for the ultimate rock and roll night in

    ReplyDelete