This recipe was inspired by one that Emma Freud cooked in BBC Good Food magazine a year or so ago, which has haunted me ever since. I’d be sitting at my desk and it would pop into my head. I’d be minding my own business and there it would be, front and foremost in my subconscious. I’d be drifting off to sleep and it would whisper to me in the dark. Until I could take it no longer, and I had to make my own version. This is a simple sling-it-in one pan edition; I toyed with adding full-fat milk to temper the tang of the beer, but decided I quite liked it. You may wish to, however, depending on how accustomed you are to the taste of warm beer.
Pour the beer and stock into a medium saucepan. Add the onion and mustard. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Measure in your pasta and cover the pan with a lid, or tin foil or a plate will do. Simmer for 10 minutes, disturbing once to stir to prevent the pasta from sticking.
When the pasta is cooked and almost all of the beer and stock is absorbed, grate in most of the Cheddar and stir well to melt it.
Grate or blitz the bread to crumbs and scatter on top. Add the remaining cheese, and serve. If I’m feeling fancy, I like to sometimes decant the cheesy, beery pasta to an ovenproof dish and finish it under the grill for a cheesy crusty top, but it’s not essential and just creates more washing up, which I can’t always justify…. But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s worth it.
Will keep for 2 days in the fridge. Not recommended for freezing – you can, but it’s not quite the same afterwards.
© Jack Monroe, 2020