When you’re in need of some comfort food a classic mac n cheese is hard to beat - there’s something about the soft, gooey cheesy goodness that’s almost as warming as a big old hug.
The addition of panko crumbs at the end gives our version a delightful crunch, a wonderful contrast to the smooth, velvety ooze of the cheese and pasta.
And our secret ingredient? Dijon mustard! Adding mustard to this super rich dish provides just the right amount of acidity to provide a more well-rounded flavour experience.
Baked mac n cheese
Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 25 minutes
1 ½ cups elbow macaroni
25g / 2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ tablespoons plain flour
1 ½ cups milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ chicken bouillon cube
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
salt and cracked black pepper
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese, extra
- Lightly grease four mini rectangular bakers or ramekins.
- Cook the pasta in a medium pan according to packet instructions then drain well and set aside.
- Return the pan to the heat and melt the butter over medium heat. When melted add the flour and stir until combined. Allow the mix to bubble for a minute (this takes away the ‘raw’ flavor of the flour) but take care not to brown.
- Remove pan from the heat and whisk in milk, mustard and chicken bouillon cube. Return to low heat and stir for 3-4 minutes until thickened. If lumps start to form at any time, whisk the mixture until smooth. It should be the consistency of thin custard.
- Stir the grated cheeses into the sauce, cooking until cheese is fully melted.
- Stir the mustard into the sauce until combined.
- Fold the pasta through the sauce, coating well, then season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer mixture to mini bakers / ramekins and sprinkle over breadcrumbs and extra cheese. Place under grill and bake for 2-3 minutes or until golden on top. Serve immediately.
- Where possible use freshly grated cheese rather than pre-shredded. Pre-shredded cheese often contains anti-caking agents that can make the sauce grainy
- You can make this recipe a day or two in advance, all the way up to the addition of breadcrumbs. When you’re ready, add the breadcrumbs, pop in the oven and bake!
- Looking to pimp out your mac n cheese? Add crispy bacon or shredded chicken for extra texture and protein or add sautéed onion and bell peppers to up your veggie intake.