Best macaroni cheese

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Oh yes, today was a bit like this. Furious that I had the phone at the dinner table (fair enough). Furious that when I suggested we paint a picture and I agreed to do all the painting, I didn’t do it right (fair enough). Furious that I let the water out of the bath before he’d done his ‘bear city’ (= Bare Necessities) back stroke in the shallow water (fair enough). Furious that I didn’t let him stay in the car while I went to Sainsbury’s. Not fair enough. I explained that this is illegal and we proceeded on the promise of a plastic dinosaur.

On the plus side, we had our first totally dry nappy free day, and macaroni cheese for dinner. High five.

Serves 4

250g (1/2 a bag) of macaroni

160g pancetta cubes (two of the little conjoined tubs)

Dash of olive oil for frying pancetta

1 dessert spoon plain flour

1 dessert spoon butter

300ml whole milk

150g cheese – a mix of grated mozzerella, crumbled feta and grated parmesan (the mix of cheese is what makes it good) (oh, and the salty, crisp pancetta) (and the breadcrumbs)

Black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of toasted breadcrumbs

Put the pasta on to boil, cooking it for a minute or two short of the suggested cooking time. Meanwhile fry the pancetta cubes till they start to crisp.

Melt the butter and stir in the flour, cooking briefly on a low heat to make a roux. Gradually add the milk, stirring well to avoid lumps. Cook on a low heat for about five minutes to thicken then stir in the cheese and black pepper. Combine with the drained pasta and pancetta and tip the lot into an oven proof dish. Top with the breadcrumbs and bake at 180 or gas mark 4 for 30 minutes.

Leave out the pancetta and substitute parboiled (5-7 minutes) cauliflower florets for the pasta, and this is our best ever cauli cheese recipe too. For both you want the cheese sauce a little thicker than usual (my mum’s tip). You could switch the pancetta for chunks of roast squash for a vege version.

This is the first time in 3 days that Bert hasn’t glanced at his evening meal, said ‘bleurgh’ and walked off.

 

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