This is the recipe that packed the pounds on a few thousand New Zealanders when I was working my way though university as a cook in Wellington. I won't lie to you. In addition to being one of the yummiest comfort foods on the planet, it's also one of the most fattening.It is the result of a Mother's gentle teaching and many hours of receiving Gordon Ramsey style abuse at the hands of mean, nasty head chefs.Despite this I think the recipe has a lot of love to give.As with lots of things, it's all in the sauce.
Things You Will Need
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon standard flour
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons of hot English mustard or mustard powder
Salt and pepper to taste
As much cheese as you want.Use tasty cheese. Peoplewho use mild cheese in Mac 'N' Cheese should be locked away.
Half an onion
Around four cloves
2 cups of Macaroni pasta
Chopped red chili (optional)
One teaspoon curry powder (optional)
Thick-cut ham (optional)
One diced tomato (optional)
It may seem like a strange thing to start with, but you really don't want to do this while making the sauce. Take the cloves and push all four of them into the flesh of the onion. If you like your Mac 'n' Cheese spicy then now is the time to chop the chili up, remembering to scrape the seeds out of you only want it slightly hot, or else leave them in if you think you're a real hard man like me.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and mix in the flour. You'll know you got it right when it's the consistency of wet sand. Cook it for about a minute on a medium heat, stirring it so it doesn't stick (this is to cook the flour off so the sauce doesn't end up with a horrible, grainy, glue-like texture). Slowly add the milk, stirring all the time with a whisk so it doesn't get lumpy. Once all in, add the mustard, salt and pepper to taste, the clove-studded onion and bring it slowly to a simmer, stirring it all the time. The onion and cloves together will flavor the sauce without the need for horrible, half-cooked chunks of onion throughout your pasta (I have a wife who despises onion, but not necessarily the favor). Once simmering, the white sauce should now start to expand and thicken. If the sauce curdles you'll know you messed up because it means the sauce has split and you'll have to start again.
If you are a curry fan, now is the time to add the curry powder. Make sure you mix it in a little milk first to avoid lumps. Now that the onion has flavored the sauce, you can remove it. OK, this is real important. Take it off the stove until it stops simmering and only then slowly add the cheese, mixing it in bit by bit. The reason for this is if it's too hot, the sauce will once gain split, leaving you back at square one. Once this is done you should have a smooth yellow cheese sauce. Add the chopped parsley to the sauce, and also the chili, if that's your thing.
Boil all your pasta with a handful of salt until it reaches your desired tenderness, mix the sauce in the pasta with ham, tomato or anything else you like, put it in a dish and sprinkle grated cheese and breadcrumbs on top. Bake it for about 10 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit) until bubbling and then switch the oven to grill for another 5 minutes or until the top is crispy.Serve by itself or with a crispy salad. Once eaten, hit the gym for about 7 days.
Tips & Warnings
Always use tasty cheese
It can take a little work to get it right the first couple of times
Remove the sauce from the heat before adding cheese
Feel free to experiment