This recipe is unbeatable. HONESTLY. Try it for yourselves and tell me how good it is!
The original recipe is from David Lesniak and David Muniz of Blue Plate, and was featured as a Southern Soul article years ago in a cooking magazine. It truly truly kicks ass on any other macaroni and cheese recipe, hands down, ever.
I added herbs and made a slightly crusty/crumble topping to add crunch and texture but it's not necessary.
For the cheese sauce:
110g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
75g plain flour
750ml whole milk
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 bay leaves
100g blue cheese (optional)
500g grated mature cheddar
175g grated mature cheddar
175g grated Gruyère or mozzarella
Make me/ Bake me
- Preheat oven to 200 C, fan 180 C, gas 6. Cook the macaroni in a pan of salted boiling water for 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain and run the macaroni under cold water to stop it cooking further; tip into a large bowl.
- For the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a pan, then add the flour and stir constantly until the mixture takes on a deep brown color - this will take a little while. It will be golden at first, but gradually it will darken and begin to give off a nutty aroma.
- At this point, slowly pour the milk, still stirring constantly, then add 1 tsp salt, the pepper, the cayenne and the bay leaves (plus nutmeg if you like). Continue stirring the sauce over a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes until it thickens - don't let it boil. Take the pan off the heat and crumble in the blue cheese, if using, and the 500g of cheddar.
- Mix the cheese sauce with the macaroni, removing the bay leaves if you see them (you don't want them to burn while baking). Grease a 3 litre ovenproof dish with butter and add half of the macaroni mixture.
- Mix the 175g of mature cheddar with the 175g of Gruyère. Scatter half of the cheese over the macaroni mixture in the dish, top with the remaining macaroni mixture, then sprinkle over the rest of the cheese.
- Bake in the oven. for 35-40 minutes until it's bubbling and the top is golden. Remove from the oven and leave it to rest for 15-20 minutes if you like your mac 'n' cheese thick, or tuck in straight away. Serve with collard greens, kale, mustard greens, rainbow chard or any other delicious green leafy veg of your choice.