If you ask me (and since you are reading this, I’m assuming you are), this is THE ULTIMATE mac & cheese, for the real cheese lover. I had accumulated a lot of cheese over the past couple of weeks somehow (guess it’s what happens when you have a bad habit of buying cheese and your mum encourages it by bringing you more cheese when she visits…) and I didn’t want to let it spoil. I remembered seeing a recipe in an old BBC Good Food magazine for using up your leftover Christmas cheese and I decided that this is a great way to use up all the cheese I had. In my fridge, I had a mix of the following cheeses: Vacherin (one of my favourite cheeses this winter), Chabichou du Poidou (soft goat’s cheese), St Helen’s Goat’s Cheese (firmer goat’s cheese), Bulgarian firm cow’s cheese (Kashkaval), Gruyère and Parmesan. I also had some pancetta and cooked ham that needed using up so I added them too. They made a fantastic addition to the already very tasty cheese sauce.
I hadn’t used goat’s cheese in a cheese sauce previously so I wasn’t quite sure how that would work, but I was quite pleased with the end result. I really enjoyed making this yesterday and I trust you will like it too. It’s also the end of “Veganuary” so what better way to celebrate than eating all the cheese…
Cheeseboard macaroni cheese (with pancetta and ham)
Serves 4| Takes 30 minutes | Easy | Suitable for vegetarians if the cheese you use is vegetarian and you don’t add the pancetta & ham
- 400g macaroni;
- 50g butter;
- 50g plain flour;
- 1 tsp mustard powder;
- 700 ml milk;
- 300g leftover cheese of your choice, grated, crumbled or chopped depending on the consistency. I used: Vacherin, Chabichou du Poidou, St Helen’s Goat’s Cheese, Bulgarian cow’s cheese (kashkaval), Gruyère and Parmesan.
- 50g pancetta, chopped (optional)
- 50g cooked ham, chopped (optional)
- 50g breadcrumbs
- Cook the macaroni as per pack instructions until they are al dente. In the meantime, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter then stir in the flour and mustard powder and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Pour in the milk a little at a time, stirring really well each time to get rid of any lumps. Continue until all the milk is added, then bring to the boil, stirring all the time so it doesn’t get lumpy. Cook for 2 mins until thickened. Reserve around 50g of the cheese (I reserved some of the grated cheese as it would melt better) and add the remaining 250g cheese and a grind of pepper to the milk and stir really well. Meanwhile, if using pancetta/bacon, fry it up until cooked and slightly crispy.
- Heat the grill to high. Pour the pasta and the meats into the cheese sauce and stir well. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and top with the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs. Grill for 2-3 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve with some side salad.
Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food magazine, issue December 2010.
If you make this, please do share what combinations of cheeses you used!