When it comes to comfort food, you can’t do much better
than a big bowlful of gooey golden Mac & Cheese. Don’t be put off by the
fact that it involves making a white sauce – this has a reputation for being
tricky but actually it’s really simple. The secret of my Macaroni & Cheese
is a hit of chilli that stops the richness being overwhelming.
or spirali pasta
depending on how hungry you are
Start by cooking the pasta, according to the instructions
on the packet. Once the water has come to the boil, you can go on to making
your sauce. Before you begin, measure out the milk in a jug, and have your
mustard, chilli sauce and a whisk close at hand.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over a
medium heat, and then add the flour. Use a wooden spoon to mix vigorously until
the two ingredients come together in a thick, smooth paste. Keep stirring and
moving the paste around for a further two minutes – this is to ‘cook out’ the
taste of the flour, as it can ruin a good Mac & Cheese.
Next, pour in about a quarter of the milk and stop
stirring until the milk starts to bubble – this should only take a few moments.
Stir the milk and the roux roughly together, add the rest of the milk, and then
whisk vigorously (great for toning the arms) until you end up with a smooth
sauce that’s even in colour. Move the pan off the heat and add the mustard,
chilli sauce, salt and pepper, and keep whisking until the sauce thickens up a
little. Have a little taste to make sure it tastes amazing.
By now, the pasta should be done. Drain it quickly and
add to the pan with the white sauce, stirring well to coat the pasta. Grate a
generous handful of cheddar into the pan and stir through, then grate a bit
more and sprinkle evenly over the top. Pop it under the grill for a few minutes
until the cheese is golden and bubbling on top. To wash it down, I’d recommend
a nice glass of red wine, to cut the richness.