Pimp Your Mac ’n Cheese
If you’re still eating the pre-made heat-and-eat stuff, try this version from award-winning cookbook author Sally Schneider’s A New Way to Cook. It’s – dare we say? – better than mom’s.
Stir up some sauce
Great mac ’n cheese starts with a creamy base. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat and whisk in 2 tbsp flour. Add a chopped shallot and stir until bubbly and slightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in 2½ cups full cream milk; add ¼ tsp salt and a bay leaf. Keep whisking as you bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
Make it cheesy
Using two cheeses adds an extra dimension and depth you won’t get with a block of average Cheddar. Quality cheese is key. Slowly whisk 1¼ cups shredded sharp aged Cheddar into your sauce, along with ¾ cup grated Parmesan or good quality Gouda, and 1 tsp paprika. Season with salt and white pepper. Cook 200g elbow macaroni in boiling water until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and stir in the sauce.
Lightly coat a casserole dish with butter or vegetable oil, pour in the macaroni mixture, and sprinkle on 2 tbsp of Parmesan. Bake at 180°C until golden, about 15 minutes. Prefer a crunchier, cheesier top? Use a wider, shallower dish.