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When it’s the slightest bit chilly and rainy, I will find an excuse to prepare something rib sticking and comforting. Who doesn’t love a saucy old mac ‘n cheese? It had to be on my top 5 of life’s simple(and guilty) pleasures.
I always infuse milk for my white/cheese sauce with onions, black peppercorns and bay leaves, it just gives the dish that extra savoury kick  I also add a wack load of mature cheddar to the sauce. I love the addition of bacon and mushroom and I usually top mac ‘n cheese with sliced tomatoes – there’s something very comforting about hot, crispy cheese-covered tomato slices. Covered in copious amounts of grated mozzarella and baked until bubbling and stringy and I’m one happy girl 🙂

Bacon, mushroom and tomato mac ‘n cheese
Serves: 6

2 c (500 ml) elbow macaroni, cooked until al dente
3 c (750 ml) milk
6 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 onion, roughly chopped
1/4 c (60 ml) butter
1/4 (60 ml) cake flour or self raising flour works like a bomb (my mom showed me this recently)
1 1/2 c (375 ml) grated mature cheddar
250 g shoulder bacon, diced
250 g brown mushrooms, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 – 3 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 c (375 ml) grated mozzarella cheese
Sprinkling of dried Italian herbs

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Heat the milk, bay leaves, peppercorns and onion together until almost boiling. Remove from heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes ( while preparing the other ingredients).
In a large pan heat a little oil and fry the bacon until crispy then remove with a slotted spoon. In the same pan, sauté the mushrooms until browned and softened. Add bacon back to the pan and set aside.
Stain the milk. In a medium pot, heat the butter and whisk in the flour making a roux(paste) then add the strained milk and whisk continuously until thickened. When sauce starts to bubble, take off the heat. Add the cheddar cheese and mix until well combined. Season to taste.
Add the pasta, bacon and mushrooms to the sauce until evenly combined. Season to taste again.
Spoon into a greased medium ovenproof dish and spread out evenly.
Top with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with lots of mozzarella. Season with some black pepper and dried herbs.
Bake for + – 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
Serve with a crisp salad.

About The Author

Food consultant, recipe developer and stylist.

4 Responses

  1. Flee

    OHHH my Greatness. I’m going to have to go to counseling after reading this… Its like life changing, and amazing, and awe inspiring, and so devilishly evil. Oh I hope it rains tonight LOL.
    Thanks mills

  2. esme

    This looks absolutely divined mmmmm. I don’t need cold weather to make this dish, I will make it anytime,lol

  3. Brenda P

    I made this last night and OMG, it is the BEST mac & cheese I have ever had!! I added a shitake/shimeji mix to the portabella mushrooms and it was scrumptious! Hubby and I managed to polish off nearly the entire dish, oink oink ;-b Thank you so much Carey, I just love your recipes 🙂


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