Updated: Nov 14, 2020
(Vegetarian if lardons are omitted)
This is brilliantly quick and easy and you don't have to cook the cheesy roux sauce separately! I love macaroni cheese with lardons, mushrooms and nutmeg, but it is still absolutely delicious with just mushrooms and nutmeg or herbs. I've even added a little shaved truffle before and it's DIVINE. I made this version halfway through the second week of COVID-19 quarantine and we were definitely comfort eating! I cooked the macaroni in seasoned milk and added the butter and flour, white pepper and nutmeg for the roux once the macaroni was 2/3 cooked, cooked another few minutes till thick, then added grated cheese, a little Parmesan, fried lardons and mushrooms and creme fraîche. Super nice and the kids loved it.
250g dried macaroni
1L / 4 cups whole milk
1 tsp salt
1/4tsp ground white pepper
1/4tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp flour
45g / 3Tbsp softened butter (salted)
200g / 2 cups grated cheese
200g smoked lardons/pancetta cubes
250g sliced/chopped mushrooms
150g / crème fraîche
Place macaroni in a medium-to-large pot with milk and salt. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring now and then so pasta doesn’t stick. Cook until just about tender (about 8 minutes).
While the pasta is cooking, fry the lardons and mushrooms in a little olive oil in a separate frying pan and set aside once cooked.
Mix butter, flour, nutmeg and white pepper together thoroughly, then add to the pasta and milk, stirring until thickened. Cook the pasta gently for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.
Add bacon and Mushrooms.
Stir in the cheese until melted, then add the crème fraîche and stir through.
And serve! (Preferably in pre-warmed pasta bowls!)
There are so many variations for mac and cheese. You can use the beautiful Red Leicester cheese for that truly American-cheddar-orange glow, or add herbs like thyme or oregano, or steamed cauliflower, croutons or breadcrumbs on top (which my mother used to do but I can't bring myself to. I've never liked breadcrumb toppings).