From the USA to Perth
Gone are the days of intricate food on your table. My guess is that the next food trends will be home meals, comfort food, eating at your local restaurants, growing your own herbs and vegetables in gardens and balconies, and using locally produced ingredients in your kitchen.
When colds winter nights arrive and a hint of frost is in the air it is time to make my macaroni & cheese. This dish is my comfort food, it has to be cheesy, creamy and bubbly!
- 1lb macaroni
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 200 grams spicy pancetta
Ingredients for the Bread Topping
- 4 slices of old bread, torn into pieces
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
Method for the Macaroni
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the macaroni and stir often to stop the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The macaroni should be al-dente.
- Drain the macaroni, and then spread it out on a baking sheet to cool.
Method for the Breadcrumb Topping
- Pulse the bread, Parmesan cheese, garlic and 3 tablespoons of butter in a food processor until coarsely ground. Divide the crumbs between your serving dishes.
Method for the Pancetta
- Dice the Pancetta in lardons (small strips, like matchsticks), slices or cubes. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the Pancetta in batches and fry until they are golden brown.
- Remove the Pancetta to a paper-towel and let them drain briefly. Set aside some of the Pancetta slices to decorate.
Method for the cheese sauce
- Heat the 6 tablespoons of butter in a pan, add the flour, the mustard and the cayenne pepper. Stir constantly until golden and fragrant. Slowly whisk in the stock and cream and bring to the boil. Reduced the heat and simmer until slightly thickened.
2- Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the Mozzarella, the Cheddar cheese, and the salt and pepper to taste.
3- Pour the sauce on to the cold pasta, breaking up clumps until well combined, then fold in the pancetta.
4- Divide the pasta mixture into baking dishes. Cover each dish with foil paper and put them into a pre-heated oven at 180C.
5- Bake them for 20 minutes then remove the foil paper and add the breadcrumbs. Continue to bake until the crumbs are golden brown and crisp.
6- Let the pasta dishes rest for a few minutes before serving.
- If you do not want to use spicy Pancetta just use regular Pancetta.
- Boil the macaroni until al-dente. If the pasta is overcooked your macaroni will be mushy.
- It looks like there is a lot of sauce for the amount of pasta. Do not worry, all this sauce is intended to keep the pasta from drying out. The mix of sauce and macaroni will look like a soup, but amazingly when the macaroni is baked it will be moist and creamy.
- Make the Parmesan decorations, they look beautiful, they are crispy, and very easy to make.
Method for Parmesan Crisps
For each crisp you will need 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese placed on a lined baking dish. Space them apart and bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Let them cool.