I don’t like macaroni. Blah. I make this with whatever pasta shells are lurking in the pantry. Coloured twisty bow ties look pretty cool all cheesy and baked.
This is a kid friendly dish, mine love it. I have fond memories of master 9 at 2 years old giving up on his spoon and resorting to his fist to transfer this cheesy goodness faster into his gob.
Don’t fear the hot mustard, it adds savouriness not heat.
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
salt and pepper
about 500ml milk
1/4 tsp hot English mustard
fresh time twigs
6 small rashers of bacon (diced)
tasty cheese – grated. Lots. Around 2 cups
peas or any other veggies you fancy
cooked and lightly drained pasta – 3 cups uncooked measure, go less if you are using macaroni.
Panko or regular breadcrumbs
Cut the bacon into small (1cm) bits. Fry on a low heat until all golden and crispy.
Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce and put the pasta on to boil in salted water.
In a large microwaveable dish, melt the butter and add seasoning. Stir in flour and return to the microwave uncovered for 30 seconds or until fluffy. Then add milk. Microwave for 2 mins and check. The sauce should begin to thicken around the outside of the dish. Grab a whisk and beat it until smooth. Return to the microwave for another minute and beat again. Do this until you have a nice thick white sauce. If it gets too thick, add a little extra milk. If you get the odd lump, beat harder. It really is that simple. Add mustard and 1.5 cups of grated cheese. Pull the little leaves off the thyme twigs and throw in (I use 1 – 2 Tbs, so quite a lot). Stir until combined.
Lightly drain the pasta (leave a little bit of water in the pot). Plonk the pasta back in the pot and add the cheese sauce mix. Add bacon and veg (I chuck in frozen peas and cooked leftover veg) and stir to combine.
Transfer to a baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and a some panko/regular breadcrumbs if you like a crunchy crumb. Bake at 180C until golden and bubbly.