Macaroni – Mac & Cheese but not as you know it…

With the new year came a tightening of my purse-strings as my working week has gone from five to three days. I therefore need to cut back on eating out yet there’s still a need to catch up with friends but on a budget.

My smoked bacon and leek macaroni cheese is the ultimate comfort food

My smoked bacon and leek macaroni cheese is the ultimate comfort food

Marshalls, the makers of macaroni, has just brought out a new cookbook, ‘Macaroni – Mac & Cheese but not as you know it‘ so I decided to invite my friends round for mac ‘n cheese and a crumble supper, using ingredients that I already had in my store cupboard and to try out one of the recipes from the book.

Mac ‘n cheese is the ultimate comfort food

I’ve always been partial to some ‘mac & cheese’, especially for a quick, comforting supper or as a side dish to accompany steak. It’s also relatively cheap to make.

Marshalls has been renowned for macaroni for decades, making it their flagship product with heritage since 1935 when the first short cut macaroni curved pasta shape was produced and it has been the heart of the brand ever since.

The new book features the best macaroni recipes throughout the country, from their staple Marshalls recipes, recipes from the general public and professional recipes from chefs and restaurants across the country.

They’re aiming to bring friends and families together to celebrate how versatile their macaroni is – showing it doesn’t have to be paired with cheese but can be made with pesto, chocolate or turned into pancakes.

I’m not convinced about the last two ideas, but the book does contain some delicious recipes that are relatively simple and quick to make. I may well be trying the ‘macaroni with crispy pancetta, asparagus and soft yolk quails eggs’ in the future but one of my guests had an aversion to eggs.

Marshalls new macaroni cheese gives lots of tips on cooking the perfect mac & cheese

The book gives you tips on ‘how to cook Marshalls Macaroni perfectly’, a guide to different types of cheeses and which ones might be chosen.

I thought I had my mac ‘n cheese recipe down to a fine art, often ‘jazzing’ it up with any leftovers in my fridge or store cupboard, such as the addition of fresh cherry or sun-dried tomatoes, bacon or chicken fillets.

Yet by following Marshalls’ tips, which included using mozzarella cheese in addition to Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses in the sauce, and boiling the pasta in plenty of water (1 litre of water per 100g pasta), resulted in a rich sauce, which was full of flavour, complemented my perfectly cooked pasta. It was a marked improvement on my normal recipe.

I opted for the Smoky Bacon Macaroni recipe and added my own twist with the addition of some sweet leeks, to ensure I got at least some of my five a day.

Sweet leeks complement the smoky bacon

Sweet leeks complement the smoky bacon

Smoky Bacon and Leek Macaroni
 
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
 
A simple macaroni recipe with the addition of smoky bacon and leeks for a quick, nutritious supper
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 500g Marshalls Macaroni
  • 250g Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 100g Mozzarella Cheese, grated
  • 100g Parmasen Cheese, grated
  • 4 tablespoons Butter
  • 3 tablespoons Plain Flour
  • 500ml Whole Milk
  • 3-4 Rashers Smoky bacon, cubed
  • 2 Large Leeks, sliced
  • ½ Baguette, cut into chunks
  • Extra Parmasen Cheese, grated (topping)
Instructions
  1. My smoked bacon and leek macaroni cheese is the ultimate comfort food

  2. Pre-heat your over to 200C
  3. Cook the Marshalls Macaroni, according to the pack instructions minus 2 minutes from recommended cooking time.
  4. Whilst that is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter into a saucepan. Once completely melted, add in the flour and stir vigorously. Do this for 1 minute.
  5. Gradually whisk in the milk, until you get a smooth bechamel sauce.
  6. Let this simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens.
  7. Whilst the sauce thickens, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in another saucepan and cook the leeks with the bacon over a medium-high heat until the bacon is relatively crispy - 6-8 minutes.
  8. Now add the Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmasen cheeses to your bechamel sauce and stir.
  9. Drain macaroni and add to cheese sauce.
  10. Stir through the bacon and leeks.
  11. Transfer mixture to a large oven-proof dish. Add the chucks of baguette to the top and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
  12. Bake for 1--15 minutes or until the baguette is golden brown.
  13. Serve with a mixed leaf, avocado, and slow-roasted tomato saldad.

So for some new ideas to jazz up your traditional Mac & Cheese, Marshalls has some great ideas.

Marshalls' new cookbook - Macaroni Cheese - but not as you know it

Marshalls’ new cookbook – Macaroni Cheese – but not as you know it

They even have a shortbread recipe, using their Marshalls’ Farola (semolina), which would have been a lovely dessert with some shop brought ice-cream but my crumble, using leftover apples, pomegranate and caramel sauce, was also positively received. I’ll let you know how I get on with the shortbread though.

Have a look at Marshalls’ website for some other great quick and easy supper recipes.

Website: Marshalls
Twitter: @marshallsmac
Facebook: marshallsmac

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About Kerry Teakle

Working in communications during the day, by night, Kerry is a self-confessed culture vulture and foodie, and can be found lapping up anything culinary or to do with the arts.

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