Hubby and I were on babysitting duties, so we decided that instead of taking the easy way out and ordering in, we were going to make something. We needed something that was quick and easy and decided to turn to one of our favourite recipe books, The Hairy Bikers One Pot Wonders and seeing as our grandson loves pasta, we settled on their Macaroni Cheese recipe.
This is their thoughts on this dish:
"Yes, mac 'n' cheese all in one pot! No faffing about making a cheese sauce. The dish works because the starch from the pasta is released and combines with the milk and water to thicken the sauce. Magic!
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
100g smoked bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried thyme
750 ml whole milk
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
200g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and black pepper
How did I get on?
The first step was straightforward, heat the olive oil and butter in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the onion and bacon and cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Turn up the heat, then continue to cook until the bacon is crisp and has rendered out much of its fat. Don’t worry if the onion browns, it will add to the flavor.
Next we had to stir in the garlic and thyme. We did get some fresh thyme out of our garden, rather than using the dried thyme. The macaroni was then added, with the milk and water, then stir in the mustard. We had some single cream left over, so we substituted some of the milk for that.
We had to bring this to the boil and leave it to simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the macaroni is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. It needs a loose texture so you need to add a little more milk or water if necessary. Then we had to preheat the grill.
Finally, add the tomatoes and 150g of the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted, then leave the pan over a low heat for a further five minutes and the last step was to sprinkle over the remaining cheese and put the dish under the grill until the cheese has melted and browned.
This dish was very easy to make, we found that it was best to keep stirring the macaroni so it didn’t stick to the bottom of the casserole dish. The flavour was delicious, the tomatoes just popped in your mouth. This served four people, so there was plenty for us two and a little mouth and the leftovers still taste great when you have it for lunch the next day. But don’t take my word for it, Harry liked it too!
Just as an aside, we used a Le Creuset casserole dish, it may be a little more expensive than your normal dish, but it retains the heat really well, it is easy to clean and the food stays warmer for longer on the table, plus it comes in lots of amazing colours!