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Deluxe macaroni cheese recipe


Macaroni cheese with knobs on

Macaroni cheese with knobs on

Well I wish that I’d put my tiny foot down years ago and insisted that Danny tried macaroni cheese. All those years spent out in the wilderness without my comfort food.
“Why it’s just like cauliflower cheese, with macaroni instead!”
He had three helpings.

I did have to work on my cauliflower cheese recipe though, before he’d admit to enjoying that meal. It took a good six months but I was determined to burrow under the apprehensions and the stalwart status quo. It’s very easy to ask people to be a bit more flexible if it’s them rather than you!

Danny has been keen for me to try cabbage and bacon – I can’t really refuse after this. I’d have to cure the loin myself though as a slab of cured loin isn’t available locally. But why not give it a go? Although I’m not a cabbage eater, it could be very good indeed.

The main reason that I pulled everything out of the hat this time was simple. We had run out of home grown cauli and the one smallish one that I bought cost £1.98! So with all the extra ingredients it cost the same as a treat meal. Ridiculous. And Danny agreed. Finally beaten down he gave the thumbs up to macaroni cheese. He had no idea that this used to be my comfort food.

As D remarked our recipe is our best cauliflower cheese recipe, swapping cauli for macaroni. It worked well and will now glisten as a good and tasty budget meal in our repertoire.

Cabbage and bacon here I come. Suspicious but finally willing to give it a go!

Deluxe macaroni cheese recipe (for two greedy people – enough for seconds and thirds)

125 g of macaroni (I actually cooked 150g but it was far too much. The min Pins don’t agree – the chomped it as a topping)
100g of unsmoked streaky bacon – cubed
200g of cheap cheddar cheese – grated
75g of finely sliced good tomatoes (Marmande or plum are best as their flavour opens when cooked)
50g of butter
80g of plain white flour
450ml -750ml of milk (depending on how thick you want your sauce to be – we like it thick so stick to 450ml -500ml)
1 tsp of garlic granules (or a chunky clove of garlic crushed and chopped very fine- if you use chopped garlic cloves add at the roux stage)
I tsp of anchovy essence
1 tsp of chilli sherry (this does not make it hot, just sultry)
1 large handful of homemade dried breadcrumbs
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Start off with your bacon. Chop and fry it gently to cook through until crispy and set aside.
In a saucepan heat the butter and, when it has melted, add the flour. Let this roux simmer for a minute or so to get a nuttiness. Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly so that the roux absorbs all the milk before you add the next splosh. In this way you should avoid lumps. When all the milk has been added let the sauce simmer for ten minutes to thicken. (My sauce was very thick at this stage). If you do have lumps use a stick blender to obliterate them at the thickened stage.
Meanwhile add the macaroni to a large saucepan of boiling water. Simmer for about eight minutes (testing after five) until cooked but with a bite. Drain through a colander and set the colander on the original saucepan (lid over), in a warm place to drain as you continue to make your sauce.
Add two thirds of the grated cheese to the thick béchamel sauce and stir until it is absorbed. Add the chilli sherry, garlic granules and anchovy essence. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper (black pepper will look like dirty specks).
Put a one third layer of the cooked streaky bacon in the base of a large shallow dish. Add a half of the sliced tomatoes and stir. Arrange a third of the cooked macaroni over this. Add the rest of the tomatoes, a the next third of the bacon and the remaining macaroni. Arrange the remaining macaroni over the top, and pour over the sauce.
Sprinkle the remaining bacon over the surface. Add half of the remaining cheese, then the dried breadcrumbs and the remaining cheese over the surface of the dish. Place under a medium grill for about five to seven minutes to brown.
Ideally serve with crusty bread and a well rounded table wine or a decent chilled beer.

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  1. Scott at Real Epicurean

    A great looking comfort dish.

  2. kate (uk)

    Cabbage and bacon is lovely- the secret is in the BEST bacon….

  3. Kooky Girl

    I will have to try this at some point. As they say on Saturday Kitchen, this is my idea of ‘Kitchen Heaven’ – although I wouldn’t eat this often – maybe as part of my carb-loading-marathon-training. Can I just say well done Helen as well on the weight loss. The perseverance is impressive.

  4. I used to be a non-cabbage eater, but then I discovered kale and it opened me up to lots of ways to do brassicas. Now I love cabbage, and grow it, even fighting the white cabbage moths for it. Another lovely way for cabbage is while your shredded cabbage is steaming in some butter and a little stock, brown some bread crumbs with a small mince onion in some butter. When the cabbage is done and all the liquid is gone, toss it with the browned bread crumbs and serve. It’s quite yummy.

  5. Hi Fiona

    Well I’m impress both with your recipe and that D is man enough to try it and change his mind! At his time of life! Perhaps there is hope for my non beetroot eating other half.
    I’d love to cook this tonight but I’m on a new french diet called Dukan which just has me on low fat protien and vegetable no carbs allowed. Can’t really complain as it is working I’ve lost more than a stone with no huger or pain. Your recipe will have to wait until about mid September when i should be about 10 Stone 7 pounds about five stone lighter. I trust healthier and energetic.

    Happy days

  6. The ultimate recipe for the “I hate cabbage” clan:

    It doesn’t even have bacon in it to soften the blow 🙂

    My cabbage-hating husband likes pintade aux choux too.

  7. Magic Cochin

    That looks so delicious!

    Cabbage – please don’t be prejudiced – you don’t have to start with plain steamed/boiled cabbage. Try savoy cabbage, shredded, lightly steamed/blanched (slightly soft still green with a bite to it), strain and put back in pan with a small knob of butter, lots of seasoning (salt, pepper – allspice of nutmeg if you feel adventurous) and a dollup of creme fraiche. Stir and heat through. Serve immediately, lovely with a jacket potato and boiled bacon.


  8. Hooray! Have the same problem with my youngest….”you don’t know if you’ll like it until you’ve tried it” is a mantra in our house.
    Add a drop of worcestershire sauce to taste after serving and swirl in… mmmmm x

  9. tricia ellingford

    We just love cheese whether it be fried cheese, macaroni cheese, cauliflower cheese. I do however like the cabbage done with bacon. That is quite tasty and a friend recommended that way of cooking to me. I personally find it delicious. Although like you, I was a little nervous of trying it this way. However, I have found in the past that people who say they don’t like cabbage have more than likely had it over-cooked which has put them off. Half the battle is finding a way recipe or method that you like that particular vegetable cooked by. The other way I cook cabbge is to shred it, steam it, then shred even finer with a knife and fork, then pop a knob of butter on it and mix it up. Normally the cabbage keeps its flavour and doesn’t go limp and lifeless when done this way.

    Glad you have managed to convert Danny.

    Take care



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