'Pizza' Mac & Cheese

So I got delivered some cheese last week from a rather special artisanal Welsh producer, Snowdonia Cheese who produce individually wax coated cheeses with names like Green Thunder, Black Bomber and Red Devil, all very hipsterish in name but complex in flavour. The pick of the bunch, a smoked Applewoodish cheddar called Beechwood was extremely smokey, crumbly and extra mature. Given that these products where awesome I thought it only right to get creative which tied in perfectly with a pregnant wife craving Mac & Cheese. Step up the Black Bomber.

Mac and Cheese is a quintessential American favourite which is extremely easy to make and prepare. This version has a slight twist with added pizza toppings in buffalo mozzarella, oregano, basil and pepperoni. This could be served as a side dish to BBQ'd meats or as a main with some chilli garlic crusty bread.

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SWANKINGREDIENTS

Serves 3/4

  • Macaroni Pasta 300g
  • Cheddar Cheese 100g
  • Mature Mozzarella Cheese 300g (Try this Snowdonia Black Bomber)
  • Pepperoni 7 Slices
  • Fresh Basil 4 Leaves
  • Nutmeg Half a teaspoon
  • Whole Milk 250ml
  • Plain Flour 2 Tablespoons
  • Butter 2 Tablespoons
  • Dried Oregano 1 Teaspoon
  • Sea Salt 1 Tablespoon
  • Cracked Black Pepper Half a Teaspoon
  • Smoked Garlic 4 Cloves
  • Bread Crumbs 2 Tablespoons

METHOD

1. Before you start to cook boil the kettle and cook the macaroni as per packet instructions, normally around 10 minutes for al dente. The dish comes together very quickly so you want to have the pasta cooked and ready to go when the sauce is nearly finished. At this stage, you should also pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.

2. Heat a saucepan on medium heat and add the butter. Once melted add the chopped smoked garlic and saute for 1 minute. Ensure you don't burn the garlic or it will become bitter. Next, add the flour to make a roux and cook for 30 seconds which will cook out the floury taste. Once the butter, flour and garlic have made a smooth paste add the milk and continuously stir until combined. You now have the base of the cheese sauce.

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3. Next, grate the Cheddar Cheese and add to the saucepan on medium heat along with the nutmeg, oregano and black pepper. Mix well until the cheese has fully melted and you are left with a thickish smooth sauce.

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4. Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and mix well. At this stage, you can add more seasoning if needed.

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5. Transfer the pasta and sauce to a cast iron skillet (or frying pan) and top with chunks of torn mozzarella, basil leaves, pepperoni and breadcrumbs which will provide a bit of texture to the dish.

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6. Place in the pre-warmed oven for 10 minutes and serve straight away.

Hope you enjoy,

Paul