Macaroni & Cheese
A well made, creamy Mac and Cheese dish ranks high on my list all year through, but on that one special day at Christmas, this dish is just that extra bit special. Over this past week, as I’ve run through some of my Christmas Eve favorites. Mac & Cheese is one dish I couldn’t leave off the list. And though there is no extravagant list of ingredients in here, no high-tech molecular gastronomy, and no fancy techniques, there is however a lot of love and simplicity.
Sometimes it’s those simple dishes that comfort us most in the company of family. Just like those Christmases where you didn’t get all the plastic and material paraphernalia you wished for, but the family was together, and everybody was happy and healthy. Sometimes you’re not even aware, at the time, that you’re experiencing the best Christmas, that is, until you’re not. In times are hardships, failing relationships, ailing family members, or just stress and exhaustion of everyday life finally taking its toll, we look back on happier peaceful times to see it was those simple Christmases you remember most. You may not know when that “best” Christmas is happening, but you can treat each one as though it’s going to be the best. And you can do that by appreciating the small stuff, the simple pleasures, and most importantly, the people you surround yourself by.
So, if this simple macaroni and cheese dish represents anything, it’s those simple Christmases I can look back on and smile, knowing it wasn’t about the gift I unwrapped, but about that special person in my life who wrapped it.
Macaroni & Cheese
- 350g elbow macaroni
- 2 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 100g Chèvre
- 1/4 heavy cream
- 35g Serrano ham(about 5 or 6 thin strips), diced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- White pepper, to taste
- Soda crackers or panko bread crumbs, for topping, optional
Recipe makes for one 9-inch round casserole dish.
1. Prepare macaroni by boiling in water for about half its recommended cooking time. If the box suggests 7-8 minutes, cook it for 3.5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
For the Cheese Sauce:
1. In a pot over medium-high heat, melt butter and add the flour. Cook to a nutty brown color.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar cheese, cream and Serrano ham.
4. Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce and toss to coat well.
5. Pour the pasta into a 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with crushed soda crackers or panko bread crumbs or even crushed potato chips over the top and add a little more cheddar.
6. Bake for 35 minutes at 180°C. Serve immediately.