Mac & Cheese Recipe

Mac & Cheese


  • 1 cup of dried macaroni/fusilli/penne
  • 200ml full cream milk
  • 150ml water
  • sea salt & cracked black pepper
  • half a cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • a small knob of butter
  • 4 rashers of pancetta/smoked bacon, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra 6 tbsp
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, roughly chopped
  • about 6 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp truffle salsa (optional)

How to make Mac & Cheese

Mac & cheese is probably one of the more artery-clogging comfort foods, and it's also widely available in the boxed/instant variety. However, it's really easy to make on your own, and that also gives you the opportunity to bump the recipe up a notch. This version (as you can see in the picture), is really tending towards a ham and cheese gratin, but hey. I like mac & cheese and that's what I'm calling it. (Makes 6 small servings - i.e. it'll probably serve 2 people for a rich, yet smallish lunch, and give you some leftovers for in the middle of the night.)

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the milk, water, cinnamon stick, cloves, and rosemary in a small saucepan. Season with a pinch of salt (don't add too much, as the sauce is gonna be pretty salty with the bacon), and a good sprinkle of black pepper. Heat on a medium flame and bring it to a simmer.
  3. Add the dried pasta in, and simmer for about 7-10 minutes (you want it just slightly undercooked, but since the liquid is only simmering instead of at a rapid boil, it might take a bit longer).
  4. Heat another saucepan over medium-high heat, and melt the butter in a tiny splash of olive oil. When the butter foams, add the bacon in. (Moderate the amount of butter you use according to how much fat there is on the bacon - you really just need a slight taste of the butter.) Fry until cooked through, and browning a little. It should NOT be crispy. Take it off the heat.
  5. Drain the pasta over a bowl, reserving the cooking liquid. Pull out the cinnamon stick and cloves, and discard. Place the saucepan with the bacon back on a medium-low heat, and add in 3-4 tbsp of the milk cooking liquid, then add 1 cup of the parmesan cheese. Stir until it's melted. If the sauce looks too thick, add more of the milk. You want it fairly thin - just able to coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Add the pasta back in, and stir until well coated. Take it off the heat, and stir through the truffle salsa, if using. Divide the mixture among 6 ramekins, scatter over the mozzarella, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, and top with the extra grated parmesan.
  7. Place all the ramekins onto a baking tray, and bake for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling, the cheese has melted, and started to brown a bit. Whack the heat up to 250°C, and turn the oven to grill mode (or place it as close to the top as possible), and heat for a further 3-5 minutes, keeping an eye on it to make sure the cheese doesn't burn. You know it's done when the cheese has melted around the breadcrumbs forming a lovely crispy crust.
  8. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then eat up. :)
  • tjr
    tjr says

    This recipe reminds me of a gloriously delicious mac n cheese I had in France, with fresh-shaved truffles on top (the waiter shaves them over top at the table so you can look fabulously wealthy to all the other patrons, hur hur).

  • magsyg
    magsyg says

    This sounds absolutely delicious.

  • celia
    celia says

    loveeeeeeeeeeeeeee this!!!!!!

  • theory
    theory says

    Awesome. When I make Mac 'n Cheese it's usually just before my little brother and sister and I are about to watch a movie on the couch (although I have been known to use truffle even then), but a small ramekin of your dressed-up version (like the one in the photo) would be just as suitable as a starter or pasta course at any dinner party.

  • deanomartin
    deanomartin says

    super delicious! Definitely gave me insight on how to spice up mac n cheese meals.

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