Macaroni and cheese: the ultimate comfort food

When the nights begin to cool, and autumn takes hold there is nothing more wonderful for Sunday night supper than macaroni and cheese. It’s oozy and creamy and warming, and almost universally loved. My recipe includes pieces of crisp bacon, fresh chives and a crunchy topping of cheesy sourdough crumbs. Best of all the sauce is a luxurious no-cook mixture of mascarpone cheese, milk and tangy mustard, which is poured over the cooked pasta before baking in the oven until crisp and golden. Heartily recommend eating while watching a favourite movie, glass of wine in hand with the ones you love.

Serves 4:

300g macaroni
250g bacon, diced
125g sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup milk
250g mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons seeded mustard
1 tablespoon chives,snipped
100g fresh crusty sourdough bread

Preheat oven to 180 C. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the macaroni for 8 – 10 minutes, until just al dente. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a small pan over medium heat until crispy, then drain on absorbent paper and set aside. In a medium sized bowl place the milk, mascarpone, mustard and chives and whisk together gently until well combined. Tear the bread into chunks and process in a food processor with half the cheese until rough crumbs are formed. When the macaroni is cooked, drain well and add to the creamy mixture with the remainder of the cheese, and the bacon, and stir well. The mixture will seem quite runny, but it will thicken as the pasta bakes. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in a 1.5L casserole dish and spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes in the oven until the crumb topping is golden brown. Take out of the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving to your hungry family or guests, on its own or with a green salad on the side.