This is the only Mac N Cheese recipe you’ll ever need. I’m not even exaggerating, it’s like when you first discover your favourite bands best album and stick it on repeat for a month until it becomes familiar, warming and comforting. The cheese sauce comes together in minutes. It’s thick, nutty and coats the pasta without being gluey. The savoury umami nature of miso adds an extra nuttiness, complimenting the flavours of the cheese. Reserving some cheese and mixing it with panko breadcrumbs and black pepper gives you a crisp layer of goodness on top of the rich sauce.
This time of year, when the evenings start drawing in and there’s an extra bite to the air, is perfect for comfort food like Mac N Cheese. You can have the whole thing ready in 30-35 minutes, most of which is oven time, so it’s perfect for a dark autumn evening when you just want to throw something together quickly. It only needs a couple of types of cheese, but you can mix it up however you need. For the example below I used cheddar, edam and a little parmesan (about 75%, 20%, 5% ratio), but it would work just as well with gruyere, pecorino, comte and other nutty cheeses. Heating the milk slightly before adding it to the roux is key to making the sauce come together quickly.
- 225g dried pasta (like elbow macaroni)
- 3 tbsps butter
- 3 tbsps flour
- 475ml milk, warmed slightly
- 250g shredded cheese (I like a mix of cheeses cheddar, Pecorino, edam or Gruyère)
- 2-3tbsps sweet white miso paste, or to taste
- ¼ tsp salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan assisted).
- Bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water to the boil, add your macaroni/pasta and cook until a little shy of al dente. This will be a minute or two less than the lowest cooking time on the instructions. Remember, it'll keep cooking in the oven.
- While it's cooking, start making a roux in a large saucepan. Heat the butter until it melts, stir in the flour and whisk constantly until there are no lumps remaining. Cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly.
- Whisk in the warmed milk, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Heat until it coats the back of the spoon.
- Stir in the miso, salt and 220g of the cheese. Start with 2tbsps of Miso and add more to your personal taste.
- Stir through the pasta, pour into a dish (I used a deep 10-inch pie dish) and cover the top with the remaining cheese, pank breadcrumbs and a generous scattering of black pepper.
- Place in the center of your preheated oven and cook for 25 minutes. It should be bubbling and brown on the top.
- Serve as soon as it's cooled down enough to eat.