Keeping it real … Real Ale
If you are on a diet or watching the calorie intake then I suggest you continue your search for a dinner recipe right now, this mac n cheese recipe is not going to do you any favours! I have only just come around to Mac n Cheese, when I was younger I had a bad experience with a dodgy can of Mac n Cheese that was somewhat out of date and resulted in some fairly violent chunk blowing. It has taken me all these years of putting Mac n Cheese off to finally give it another shot. I guess it’s BBQ food that has pushed me back to trying it, Mac n Cheese being a staple side in most BBQ restaurants. It was my BBQ king of a friend Clayton that finally convinced me that I did in fact like Mac n Cheese and it didn’t result in being sick (his recipe is way better than this hit him up on twitter). This recipe made a huge trays worth, enough for dinner for two, then lunch for two and most likely another dinner to put in the freezer. I wanted to use a beer that can be easily picked up from a supermarket but also was decent, Fullers Bengal Lancer was perfect. Bengal Lancer has a mild bitterness, lovely floral hoppy characters and a slight spiciness. it is great from the bottle and easily found in supermarkets like Sainsbury or Morrisons but it is also a treat on cask if you are ever lucky enough to find it.
Pack of macaroni pasta shapes
3 big hands full of spinach
250ml Fullers Bengal Lancer (or any other pale ale or less bitter IPA)
150g grated cheddar
200g grated mozzarella
Enough grated Parmesan cheese to cover the top of the Man n Cheese
50ml double cream
Tablespoon mustard powder
Small bowl of bread crumbs (1-2 slices)
4 strips of streaky bacon
3 tablespoons of plain flour
2 garlic cloves chopped
Handful of chopped chives
Cook the pasta to the instructions on the pack but cut the cooking time by about 3 minutes.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan with the garlic and the mustard powder, stir for a minute or so. Mix in the plain flour a tablespoon at a time till you have a golden paste, then slowly, a splash at a time while continuously stirring, add the milk. Chuck in the spinach.
When all the milk is added do the same with the beer, making sure you continue to stir the sauce and enjoy a glass of Bengal Lancer while cooking. Whisk till it is lump free then simmer the sauce for 5-8 minutes, stirring till the sauce thickens up. Add the chives.
Pre-heat the oven to about 215. Once the sauce has thickened up slightly take it off the heat and fold in the cheddar cheese, mozzarella (holding a bit back to add to the top) and chives. Add the pasta and mix well, transfer to a large baking tray. Spread the left-over mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs over the top of the bake.
Put the bacon strips on some tin foil on a tray and place in the oven. Add the Man n Cheese to the oven and cook for roughly 25 mins or till the breadcrumbs on to looks crunchy and golden. Remove the bacon first and let cool down for a minute, chop the bacon into tiny pieces of magical bacon glitter so you can sprinkle over the top of your Mac n Cheese. Remove Mac n Cheese from the oven, sprinkle the bacon glitter on top and enjoy.
Disclaimer – I paid for all ingredients in this recipe, Fullers had no input.