Editor Chad January’s famous Mac n Cheese is absolutely to die for. We teach you the basics (cooking pasta, bechamel sauce & which cheese to use) PLUS flavourings to add in, vegetarian options as well as incorporating more crunch for added texture.
Chad’s ultimate mac ’n cheese
Serves 4-6 • Total Time 1 Hr
1 packet macaroni
FOR THE WHITE SAUCE
¼ onion, sliced
Handful fresh thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, sliced
¼ cup butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and milled black pepper
400g streaky bacon, chopped
1 cup grated mature cheddar
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella
Handful fresh thyme, parsley or sage, chopped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
- Add pasta and give it a quick stir so pasta doesn’t stick together. Cook, partially covered, for about 6-7 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water, and rinse pasta well under cold water.
- Toss through oil to prevent pasta from sticking together.
- Cook milk, cream, onion, thyme, bay leaves and garlic in a saucepan on medium to low heat for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a lid and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain and set aside.
- Heat a glug of oil in a large pan and fry bacon for about 5-7 minutes or until crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
- Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat and whisk in flour until smooth.
- Add milk and cream mixture a ¼ cup at a time, whisking vigorously until white sauce thickens. Repeat until all liquid has been added and sauce has thickened nicely.
- Whisk in mustard and nutmeg. Season generously.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Add cooked macaroni to a large, greased ovenproof dish and pour half the white sauce over. Toss through to coat pasta evenly.
- Combine cheddar, Gruyère and mozzarella in a bowl. Add half of cheese mix to macaroni and mix through evenly with a spoon.
- Fold through bacon and herbs.
- Pour over remaining white sauce (do not mix through) and top with remaining cheese. 14. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese has melted and bubbles. Serve immediately.
For a more affordable dish, swap Gruyère for white Cheddar, streaky bacon for bacon bits and the cream for milk.
Photography: Zhann Solomons