It’s one of those days to stay within a close distance of a roaring fire or a duvet or both.
It’s a day for being kind to yourself and those you love. This is one of my favourite dishes to make on a rainy day in October, not July. Yes, we should be sipping margaritas and dreaming up barbecue marinades for later this evening, but Mac and Cheese will be enough to soothe our longing for sunshine. For now anyway.
I don’t bother with the bechamels and the likes for this, it’s too much fuss. My motto is, if in doubt add more cheese. I thank Jamie Oliver for the inspiration behind this one – I’ve added a few different things to mine over the years and this is the result.
Go on, be kind to yourself.
500 g macaroni (do not try to cut penne in half like I have before)
1tsp of freshly chopped thyme
1tsp of freshly chopped parsley
100 g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated (keep a good handful aside for sprinkling over the top later)
85 g Taleggio cheese
25g mature cheddar
2 heaped tbsp crème fraîche
70g mascarpone cheese
1/2 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.
Cook the macaroni as per the instructions on the packet but remove two minutes short of the complete cooking time. Drain and keep a few tablespoons of the cooking water aside.
Over a medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together in a pan and add the thyme and parsley. When they start to get crispy remove the pan from the heat.
Add the Parmigian Reggiano (keeping some aside for later), Taleggio, cheddar, crème fraîche, mascarpone and grated nutmeg to the thyme and parsley along with a few tablespoons of the cooking water.
Stir with love over a medium heat until you have a gorgeously melting and delicious cheese sauce.
Season to taste and add in your cooked pasta and gently fold until it’s mixed together.
Pour the mix into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the reserved Parmesan.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes until it’s bubbly and golden.
Serve with a fresh green salad. Comforting and delicious.