The mighty Mac ‘n Cheese has to be for many the ultimate comfort food. Rich, gooey and insanely satisfying, it’s hard not to enjoy on a dreary winter’s day.
Its origin dates back as far as fourteenth century Italy in which a recipe was discovered featuring fresh pasta and Parmesan. But us Brits wanted some of the action too, with another reference to the dish around the same time. This variation was made with fresh, hand-cut pasta, but sandwiched between melted butter and cheese. YUM.
Across the pond, our American brothers and sisters were introduced to the macaroni dish in 1802 by the one and only President Thomas Jefferson. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Mac n’ Cheese continues to be served all over the word, with its foundation of pasta and Parmesan, pimped up with individual twists and turns. Fancy London restaurants like [http://www.bobbobricard.com] lux it up with lobster. While street food original [http://anna-maes.com] serves up a great version with hot dog, homemade bbq sauce and crispy onions. It’s even a staple on my niece’s school menu. And can you think of a chef who hasn’t featured it in their cookbook or TV show? Exactly. It’s a winner dinner the whole world over.
I like the idea of personalisation when it comes to a dish. It means you can add your own flavour and flair. You can mix in seasonal ingredients or even elevate something with a few surprises. Mac ‘n Cheese is a staple on my menu at Facebook HQ and makes regular appearances on my delivered menus too. (Film crew in particular go mad for it when they’re on location as it’s so filling and warming.) And on request, we’ve even transformed this hearty dish into delicate little canapés for a glitzy gala gathering.
This particular version is my Bloody Mary Mac n’ Cheese. Two of my favourite things combined. The rich, velvety comfort of melted cheese, peppered with a spike of zingy tomato.
Bloody Mary Mac n’ Cheese
|cherry tomatoes, halved||250g|
|Tabasco sauce, plus a few splashes||2tbsp|
|mature Cheddar, grated||230g|
|Monterey Jack, grated||90g|
|sea salt and freshly ground black pepper||To taste|
|celery, cut in half and sliced lenghtways, to serve||2 sticks|
- Make the topping first. Pop tomatoes into a bowl along with the Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil, salt, pepper and and mix gently.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, cook pasta until al dente. Drain.
- Place two heavy-bottomed pans over a medium heat. Heat milk in one pan until hot, but not boiling.
- Melt butter in the second pan, then reduce heat and gradually stir in flour using a wooden spoon until you have your roux.
- Stir continuously for a few minutes until the roux turns golden.
- Add hot milk to the roux a little at a time, stirring vigorously. Once mixture is combined, turn up the heat to medium and cook for a further 5-8 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon.
- Add the cheese and stir until melted. Fold in the drained pasta.
- 8. Finish by spooning the tomato mix over each serving. Garnish with ground pepper and, if you like, celery sticks. Add Tabasco to taste.