Pimped Pesto Mac and Cheese

Hello and welcome to our first ever post! We thought we would skip the cheesy intro and get stuck in with some cheesy food.

Mac and cheese is having something of a revival at the moment with it popping up on the menu at restaurants across the country. We just cannot turn down anything involving pasta and copious amounts of cheese so this is our take on it:

What you’re going to need (for 4 people)*:

Macaroni (around 200g)
Cheese – any kind is good, we used parmesan, freshly grated (around 60g)
Goats cheese (around 200g)
Butter (15g)
Flour (15g)
Milk (around 1 pint/568ml)
Green pesto (1 heaped tbsp)
Smoked bacon/cubetti di pancetta (around 40-50g)
1 shallot

*These might be a bit off – we usually don’t measure anything so this is guesswork. If it’s a baking recipe we will definitely include correct amounts, and in future we will try to remember to weigh things.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Chop your bacon or pancetta into very small pieces, and slice your shallot into fine half-rings. Put these in a frying pan with a drop of olive oil on a low heat and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly golden and the shallot is softened. Put these to one side once cooked.

Meanwhile put a pan of water on for the pasta to cook, once it is boiling cook the macaroni until al dente (this took about 8 minutes for us).

Melt the butter in a saucepan large enough for the macaroni to fit in once cooked, and when it has melted add the flour and stir to form a roux. Continue stirring this over a low heat for around 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour.

Then start to add your milk – some people say this works better if the milk is warm, we’ve never found this makes much difference and as we don’t have a microwave this is a bit of a ball-ache so we used cold. Add the milk slowly stirring well in between each addition to keep the sauce smooth (you can switch to a whisk if it helps) and keep adding the milk until you have a smooth fairly thin sauce as this will thicken up later. Continue cooking the sauce, stirring every minute or so, for about 10-15 minutes until it has thickened up and is gorgeous and glossy.

Now comes the fun bit, adding the cheese! Take the sauce off the heat and throw in your grated cheese (see below for highly necessary demonstration):

It's a shame you can't see this because it's sexy.
I wish I had the magical ability to produce cheese from my hand.

Then stir in the pesto, and add the macaroni stirring well so that each piece is well coated.

I might frame this and put it on my wall.
I might frame this and put it on my wall.
PHWOAR!
PHWOAR!

Then tip half of this sexy, cheesy mixture into a lightly buttered oven-safe dish, put the bacon and shallot mixture you made earlier as evenly as you can over it, chuck the other half of the macaroni on and top with slices of goats cheese.

Pop it in the oven for around 20 minutes, and then under the grill for a few minutes to get really golden on top.

Don't you just want to dive right in? We did.
Don’t you just want to dive right in? We did.

We had ours with a simple lettuce and tomato salad with a balsamic dressing, sorry there are no plate pictures, we were too desperate to eat!

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