Look, I know that saying Mac and Cheese is posh, even slightly so, seems wrong but this is due to the inclusion of middle class ingredients of pancetta, parmesan and leeks.
It’s delicious, too. And easy. And quite cheap. Also, it’s an Angela Harnett recipe from the Guardian Weekend magazine of some months ago so we’ve tested it several times now. Never fails to carb load and increase thigh circumference.
400g uncooked macaroni (this is very annoying as the packs come in 500g lots so the remaining 100g will sit in your pantry for a few months getting stale before you throw it out. Obv you musn’t just throw it out straight away).
100g or so of finely chopped (but not minced) pancetta
salt and pepper
2 leeks, sliced sideways and then diced a bit
200g cheddar, grated (we used about 250g, reserving some to mix with the parmesan to go on top)
100g parmesan, grated
parsley (not used though if you can use, definitely do)
butter, 2 x 25g
25g plain flour
Slice your leeks, chop your pancetta, put a big pot of water on to boil (salted, of course), set the oven to hottish, around Gas Mark 6.
Water on to boil.
Melt the butter and fry off the leeks and pancetta in a fry pan.
Melt the other bit of butter over a lowish heat in a saucepan. This’ll be the start of your white sauce.
Add the flour to the melted butter and mix through, cooking off for a good minute at least. Slowly add the milk, whisking in, and stir over the heat till it warms through and thickens a bit. I don’t go mad on the flour as I don’t want a big thick sauce (makes the final dish a bit glunky) – just make the sauce a silky liquid kind of runny custard in texture.
Grate a lot of cheese. Parmesan on the left, cheddar on the right.
Upset the dog by not offering her any cheese. She will go bury her head in the sofa cushions. Quite understandably.
Mix the cheddar into the white sauce and season generously. Drain and lightly oil the macaroni.
You should end up with the above.
Mix the sauce and the macaroni in the saucepan, then add the leeks and pancetta. Taste for seasoning.
Taste some more. You need to be thorough and you are quite hungry, despite having eaten a brownie-blondie thing only half an hour earlier. And despite having done no exercise today other than a slow 5k stroll around Gunnersbury Park with a dog who travelled at least thrice that distance in an unrestrained display of athleticism that you and your personal trainer can only dream of.
Pour into a casserole baking type dish and cover with the mixed up leftover cheddar and parmesan. Chuck into the hot oven for ten minutes. I then take it out when it’s all bubbling and stick it under the grill for another 5-8 minutes to get it all brown and crackling.
Have a beer while you wait. Guess which belongs to me, the Australian.
(btw Wagoe Beach is ace. Far away in time…)
See below for finished product. Boyfriend had two serves. To be fair, he probably would do that anyway but it’s his dish, this, as he usually cooks it, so I figure if he has two serves of my version then I win. I win everything.