mac 'n' cheese

Saturday, January 04, 2014

So while I'm not usually one to set far-fetched New Year resolutions, something that I definitely need to work on in 2014 is trying out more recipes. If my Pinterest is anything to go by I'm definitely not short on food inspiration, but I just never have the time or energy to try out new recipes! Anyway, the last time I had good old mac and cheese must have been years ago, but I've been dying to try a new version for the longest time. I think the crunchy breadcrumb topping on this rendition really makes it, so read on if you're interested in the recipe!

Admittedly I was a bit nervous about making a white sauce for the first time, but it's actually quite a simple process! If you need tips on how to make roux, this video from Food Wishes is a good starting point.

To be honest, I'm not usually a big recipe follower except when it comes to making things like desserts or baked goods. Usually when making 'real' food I tend to just play by ear and chuck a load of random things on a pan, and it's not unusual that I'll go completely off tangent from the original instructions! This case is no exception, but you can check out the original recipe for mac and cheese at Kate Gowing's blog.

500g macaroni or a similar pasta
250g smoked ham, diced
150g breadcrumbs (you can make your own or use panko like I did)
Chopped parsley to garnish

For the cheese sauce:
60g butter
60g plain flour
Pinch of ground nutmeg
2 tsp of mustard
750mL milk (or switch half with double cream for a more decadent mac and cheese)
250g tasty cheese
150g parmesan and extra

1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. 
2. Bring a salted pan of water to the boil and add your pasta. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until you have your desired bite, but remember the pasta will cook more slightly in the oven. 
3. For the sauce, begin by putting the flour, butter, nutmeg and mustard in a saucepan and cook on a low heat until the butter has fully melted.
4. Once this has melted, whisk in the milk bit by bit until you have a thick sauce. Remove from the heat and add the grated parmesan and tasty cheese to your taste, mixing until the cheese has melted. Season the sauce and add to the pasta with the ham, and stir in until fully combined.
5. Spread the pasta into a dish and sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese.
6. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is crispy and golden brown. Remove from oven and garnish with chopped parsley.

Don't be fooled, this recipe makes way more than enough for four people with leftovers to boot. Anyway, hopefully I don't offend any mac and cheese purists out there but I think it'd taste amazing with extra vegetables like mushroom or broccoli thrown in next time! Let me know if you happen to try it out.

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  1. Looking deeeelicious! Definitely going to try it out <3

  2. I'm not a fan of mac n cheese but wow yours looks so so good!! The colors are so nice

  3. Newest follower! :) I love your blog design! It's absolutely gorgeous. This mac and cheese looks so delicious! Way better than the usual mac and cheese in a box :)


    1. Thanks Emily! In all honesty I've never had mac and cheese from a box but I'll take your word for it, haha :)

  4. This looks so yummy, pasta is definitely one of my fave foods but this has reminded me that I really need to eat mac and cheese more. I love the addition of the ham :)

  5. this looks incredible! i think it would be great with broccoli in it too, good suggestion!

    Little Blue Backpack

    1. Thanks Shannon! I tried broccoli cheese bake once and LOVED it, so hopefully it would have the same effect if I ever try it :)

  6. Showed my sister your blog post and the photos of the mac n cheese has got her drooling :P. I think she is eager to try it out these holidays!

  7. I ned to start trying more recipes as well! Maybe this will be one of my first ones ;)


  8. Oh wow, this looks like it was super successful! I love the idea of throwing veggies in it to add different textures. :)

    1. Haha, that's more than what I could say for some of my other cooking experiments! I'm definitely trying the veggie thing out next time, since I probably need to justify all that cheese somehow...

  9. this looks so yummy! i need to try it out!

  10. Oh yummy! Such wonderful dish of cheesy love!

  11. Ok so I love mac and cheese and the fact that these photos are phenomal makes me even more want to eat it NOW!! Haha:) Lovely post, I will save it! xxx

  12. This looks skuper yummy + I think I discovered one of my new favourite blogs <3 It's beautiful!

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  13. Oh my gosh it looks SO so good! <3

    Jennie xo |

  14. Omg that looks delicious! I'll try to make it and let's see what happens..

  15. It looks absolutely delicious! And great photos too.

  16. Looks so good! We have here in Finland a very similar food but it's called "makaroonilaatikko" :-D

    Picture Me

  17. oh my goodness this looks incredibly delicious! I think i want some cheesy pasta for dinner tonight ;)

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    RASSP blog

  18. Everyone loves the recipe! I should definitely try a vegetarian version of this, soo delicious!

  19. Aaaah I love mac n cheese, this looks good! I burn the white sauce every time, hahaha.

  20. Mmmmm, that looks delicious! Mac n cheese is one of my all time faves!!

    witsicle - a personal style blog