Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? It has long been a favourite in our house and this is my slightly grown-up version. Serve with a generous sprinkling of chopped parsley, a green salad and a glass of red.
1 tablespoon olive oil
120 grams pancetta, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
¼–½ teaspoon chilli flakes
¼ cup white wine
50 grams butter
¼ cup plain flour
½ cup cream
2¾ cups whole milk
150 grams grated cheddar, plus 45 grams extra for topping
150 grams grated gruyere, plus 45 grams extra for topping
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
320 grams macaroni elbows
150 grams sourdough, crusts removed
3 tablespoons butter for bread and baking dish
30 grams grated parmesan
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the pancetta and onion together for 10 minutes until the pancetta is coloured and the onion softened.
Add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook for another two minutes. Add the wine, cook for a few minutes to reduce slightly. Set aside.
Heat the butter in a large saucepan until melted. Add the flour and whisk into a paste. Cook over a gentle heat, adding the cream, then the milk in three lots, whisking continuously until the sauce is thick and smooth.
Remove from the heat and add the cheddar and gruyere. Season with the nutmeg, and salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth, returning to the heat briefly if necessary. Add the bay leaf and the pancetta mixture and set aside.
Cook the macaroni elbows in plenty of salted boiling water for 2 minutes less than the package instructions. Drain well and add to the sauce.
Lightly butter a 1.5-litre-capacity baking dish. Remove the bay leaf and then spoon the macaroni mixture into the prepared dish.
Lightly butter the sourdough slices and cut into 2–3cm cubes.
Sprinkle half of the remaining cheese over the macaroni, top with the sourdough and then the rest of the cheese, including the parmesan. Cook for 25–30 minutes until bubbling and golden.
Serve sprinkled with parsley and with a simple winter green salad on the side.