Dark nights, rainy days, leaving the house with two pairs of shoes, an umbrella and 3 coats (plus 6 boxes of Kleenex)…Winter is about to hit us with a big icy sledgehammer and suddenly a salad just isn’t cutting it as a side dish anymore, let alone an entire evening meal. Whenever I’m feeling slightly sorry for myself, or my boyfriend (this is his favourite) Mac Cheese & Bacon always puts me right. It takes a bit of effort but it’s always, always worth the payoff. It should come with some kind of health warning though – there is pretty much nothing about this dish that is good for your body, but everything about it is good for your soul.
I always freehand this, as quantities can vary according to how stodgy you want it. Just make sure the little macaroni’s are smothered in the cheese sauce before you bake it, otherwise it will be exceptionally dry.
Heat a saucepan gently and add a tablespoon or so of butter. When it has just melted, add some plain flour and mix to a glossy paste to make a roux. Keep mixing the for 2 mins or so, taking it off the heat temporarily if it gets too dry or thick. This cooks off the floury taste some white sauces can have.
Slowly add some warm milk, stirring continuously until it thickens. Keep adding and waiting for it to thicken until you have the quantity of sauce you want. Meanwhile, put the macaroni on to boil acording to packet instructions. Season to taste with black pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper or mustard powder. Add a TONNE of mature grated cheddar (I use 3/4 of a regular block for 2 people….) and then grate some Parmesan in too (no, really). Stir in until melted and re-season if necessary. The cheese should be salty enough.
Stir the cooked macaroni shapes into the sauce. Transfer to a baking dish of your choice and grate MORE Parmesan on top!
Whack it under a medium-hot grill for 15 mins or so, until the top is turning crusty. Lay bacon rashers on top and grill again until the bacon is crispy. Serve with a crisp, crunchy salad (because its not quite Winter just yet).