Mac and Cheese

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6

    Hungry New Yorkers

Appears in

This all-American classic dates back to the days of Thomas Jefferson. This is Jamie’s fairly traditional take on the ultimate comfort food. We ate this in a little apartment we rented on the Lower East Side, feeling a little like the odd couple, though of course he’s odder than me.

Ingredients

  • 450g/1lb macaroni
  • 50g/2oz unsalted butter, plus a little for greasing
  • large onions, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 950ml/ pints whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons Sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 250g/9oz sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 25g/1oz breadcrumbs (mixed with a sprinkling of dried mixed herbs and a dash of sea salt)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A small mixed bunch of fresh parsley, thyme and chives

Method

Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°C/gas mark 6 and butter a baking dish of around 25cm across. Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until they soften. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture turns light brown, then slowly add the milk, whisking as you go. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and paprika.

Reduce the heat to low, and keep stirring until the sauce thickens. When it does so, add the cheese a little at a time, continuing to stir until melted. Add the cooked macaroni to the pan, and — yes — stir until the pasta is thoroughly coated.

Remove from the heat and pour into your baking dish. Lay the sliced tomatoes on top, sprinkle with the flavoured breadcrumbs and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Place in the oven and bake until bubbling and golden brown — probably about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped herbs, and serve. Cheesy goodness.

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