I love a good ol’ gooey mac ‘n’ cheese as much as the next human, but, like the E! channel, or my favourite socks, it fills the need for quick comfort fix, but I’m not exactly gonna blog lyrical about it.
Until now, obvs.
Upgrading mac ‘n’ cheese to its full mouthgasm potential is actually pretty easy. It’s just a balancing of flavours—and textures. Take the twang of sharp cheddar, cut it with tart apple, and top with the obligatory saltiness that should accompany all dishes to accentuate flavour; in this case, courtesy of crispy bacon bits, and ribbons of prosciutto, an Italian dry-cured ham.
I top the mac ‘n’ cheese with a breadcrumb and spice mix, to contrast the sauce. Even better, once it gets mixed up with all the rest of good stuff while cramming into your face, it adds another gooey, seasoned coating to the pasta.
And on the note of pasta, don’t skimp the butter step after draining your cooked spiralli (or macaroni). Lathering the pasta in butter post-cooking is what will keep it from drying out and prep it for ultimate leftover longevity (and you’ll want leftovers, I guarantee ya.)
Leftovers talk aside, this recipe makes enough for a party—because you’ll want to share this mac ‘n’ cheese magic. And because you want to win dinner club.Print
The ultimate comfort food gets a glow-up: salty prosciutto, crispy bacon and sweet apple upgrade traditional mac ‘n’ cheese to dinner club WIN.
- 2 cups spiralli / elbow pasta
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 300g streaky bacon rashers
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp paprika
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 milk
- 1/2 double cream
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 250g prosciutto (or parma ham), shredded into ribbons
- 6 large, sweet apples, grated
- Small handful chopped fresh chives
- Small handful chopped fresh thyme
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, then spoon one tablespoon butter into drained pasta and mix until all is coated.
- While pasta is cooking, fry bacon rashers in large, thick bottomed skillet on medium high heat (you’ll probably have to fry in batches). Once golden and crispy, remove rashers from pan, but do not discard bacon fat.
- While rashers are frying, combine Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan, olive oil and paprika in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Transfer bacon rashers to food processor and blitz into a coarse crumb.
- Next, squeeze grated apple inside a clean tea towel to remove most of the juice. Set aside.
- In the skillet containing the bacon fat, melt remaining butter over medium heat. Add garlic, and stir frequently, cooking until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes (don’t let garlic burn!).
- Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and double cream. Whisk until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir in cheese until melted, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in egg and pasta, and gently toss to combine; season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Fold in bacon bits, apple, and shredded prosciutto—leaving a little prosciutto for the top.
- Serve immediately, garnishing each helping with the Panko mix, remaining prosciutto, chives and thyme.