For some people, Mac & Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. I'm not a huge fan of pasta-bakes, but on a lazy Boxing Day, this is an easy way of using up leftover milk and odd bits of cheese.
This is a basic recipe from the BBC Food site, but you can adapt it to use up whatever you've got in your fridge or to add a bit of extra flavour.
- 50g baguette, cut into small chunks
- 2 tbsp butter, plus 1 tbsp melted
- 350g spiral or other short pasta
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp English mustard powder
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 500ml whole milk
- 250g mature cheddar, grated
- 50g parmesan, grated
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Spread the baguette chunks over a baking sheet, drizzle with the melted butter and season. Bake for 6 mins until crisp, then set aside.
Boil the pasta for 2 mins less than stated on the pack, then drain. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the garlic and English mustard powder, cook for 1 min, then stir in the plain flour.
Cook for 1 min more, then gradually whisk in the milk until you have a lump-free sauce. Simmer for 5 mins, whisking all the time until thickened. Take off the heat, then stir in the cheddar and half the parmesan.
Stir the pasta and some seasoning into the cheesy sauce. Tip into a large ovenproof dish, or four individual dishes.
Scatter over the bread and the remaining parmesan, then bake for 20 mins until crisp and golden.