- 150g Dried Pasta
- 200g Cheddar Cheese (Grated)
- 2 TBSP Butter
- 2 TBSP All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Pint of Milk
- 50g Cheddars/Ritz Crackers Crushed
- Pinch of Salt and Pepper
Preparation Time – 20 Mins
Cooking Time – 20-25 Mins
When I think of comfort food the first thing that pops into my head is mac ‘n’ cheese, it’s definitely something I save for when I am having a “junk food day”, I know there are healthy, low fat versions out there but for me if I am having a bowl of pasta and cheese I want the real thing.
Now you will notice this is cheesy pasta rather than macaroni cheese, this is simply just because I prefer other types of pasta to macaroni. For cheesy pasta I prefer to use either Penne (tubes) or Conchiglie (shells) because the shells and tubes just fill up with all that gooey, delicious cheese sauce, especially the shells, they act like little cups.
The secret to a great cheesy pasta is obviously in the cheese. I love to use a few different cheeses to make a delicious fancy mac ‘n’ cheese but lets face it cheese is not the cheapest ingredient in the world so I do not always have several different types of cheese just laying in my fridge at all times, and cheesy pasta is not something that I eat everyday as I try to keep my dinners as healthy as I can, so if I do decide to make this on a whim cheddar is my go to cheese as I usually do have some form of cheddar cheese in my fridge. While we are on the subject though, why is cheese so expensive? It is literally made of milk so why is milk so cheap and cheese so expensive? The other secret to making this a good dish is making the sauce from scratch and not using a jar sauce, this is so easy to make and you will probably already have all of the ingredients at home.
Preheat your oven to 200°C
In a saucepan add your pasta and fill the pan with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring the water to the boil and then simmer for around 10mins or until pasta is almost cooked (you don’t want it to be all the way cooked as you are going to put it in the oven so don’t want to overcook it). Once this is cooked drain the water out and then cover the pasta with cold water to stop it cooking any more and then drain the water out again and put pasta to one side.
In a Medium sauce pan melt 2 TBSP of butter on a medium-low heat.
Once this is melted, add 2 TBSP of flour to the pan.
Mix the butter and flour together and cook for around 2 minutes stirring continuously.
Add the milk, salt and pepper and gently whisk whilst the pan is still on the heat and the milk is gently heating up until all of the lumps are gone and the sauce is smooth and thickened to your desired consistency.
Take around a quarter of the grated cheese and add it to the sauce. Stir until the cheese has melted.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and mix well
Take another quarter of the cheese and add it to the pasta and mix well
Spoon the pasta into 2 separate oven proof dishes.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese onto both of the dishes.
Place the crackers into a ziplock bag
With a rolling pin, roll over the bag to crush the crackers into crumbs
Sprinkle the crumbs over both of the dishes and pat them down to compress them a little
Place in the oven for around 20-25mins or until the crumbs have turned golden brown and have turned into a hardened crust rather than powdery crumbs.
If you do not want to put the crumb topping on your pasta, you can just top with cheese and put in the oven until the cheese has melted and browned a little.