For me, it’s important to obtain good quality cheese and pasta when cooking Mac & Cheese because these two are the heroes of the dish. I enjoy Barilla’s pasta more than San Remo’s as Barilla’s pasta has nice bitey texture and shorter cooking time. As for the cheese, I used Bega’s vintage cheddar and Mainland’s Gruyere. This recipe by Neil Perry calls for the addition of smoked paprika and Dijon mustard into the cream mixture. The flavor is rather interesting and all of them goes hand in hand together. I usually give it a generous sprinkle of breadcrumbs over the top and slowly grill it for better crunch and fragrance. I can assure you that you’ll be sticking to this recipe after you try it as it’s so easy, quick, and most importantly, DELICIOUS. I was pleasantly surprised at how light this dish is despite the amount of cream and cheese used in this recipe. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
These are what you need. Missing breadcrumbs as I forgot to take it out from the cabinet.
Neil Perry’s Mac & Cheese (Serves 6) (Adapted from MasterChef Australia)
- 400 g dried macaroni (I used mini penne)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 rashers smokey bacon (diced)
- 500 ml pure cream
- 125 g coarsely grated cheddar
- 250 g coarsely grated Gruyere
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 100 g freshly grated parmesan ( I used pecorino as that’s what I have in my fridge)
- 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- Grease a 1.5 L baking dish with butter or oil spray. Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente (follow packet instructions). Drain and placed in a large bowl.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until golden. Drain on paper towel and stir into the macaroni.
- Return pan to heat, add cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 min or until slightly thickened. Removed from heat, gradually add cheddar and Gruyere, stirring until melted.
- Combine the garlic, paprika and mustard to form a paste, stir into cream mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
- Heat a grill to high. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle over parmesan/pecorino and breadcrumbs and grill until top is crisp and golden. If you have truffle in your pantry, grate it over the top before you serve.