This is such a popular side dish in the Deep South that it often appears in the ‘vegetable’ section of menus. A curved macaroni is essential for capturing the sauce, while a good hit of cayenne pepper and a touch of sweetness is typical.
Mac ’n’ cheese
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Cooking time: 45 minutes
- Total time: 1 hour
300g chifferi rigate (or elbow macaroni)
100g monterey jack cheese slices, crumbled
2 tbsp salted butter
½ onion or 1 small onion, coarsely grated
2 tbsp plain flour
568ml whole milk
1 tsp English mustard powder
large pinch cayenne pepper
good grating fresh nutmeg
100g mature cheddar, grated
50g swiss cheese (such as emmenthal), grated
50g red leicester, grated
4 tbsp soured cream
1 tsp maple syrup
1. Preheat the oven to 200 ̊C, gas mark 6. Simmer the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for 1⁄2 the amount of time stated on the pack instructions. Drain and toss into an ovenproof cooking dish (about 1.5 litres in volume) with the monterey jack cheese.
2. Return the pan to the heat, add the butter and, when foaming, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sweat for 6-8 minutes, until soft and sweet but not coloured. Stir in the flour until you have a paste, then cook for 1 minute, stirring. add a splash of milk and stir in until smooth. Continue adding the milk a little at a time until it’s all incorporated and the sauce is smooth.
3. add the mustard powder and spices, then simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining cheeses, soured cream and maple syrup. Check the seasoning, then pour the sauce over the macaroni and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden.