Quick Mac and cheese with Crunchy Ciabatta topping

Firstly I want to say I apologise for the picture. I was not planning to do a blog post recipe at all, but I put this picture on my Insta Stories and lots of you asked to see the recipe. You know I am all about the healthy food but of course I love to indulge in comfort food and bakes also. Spending the time to make something from scratch be it an indulgent dish such as this one once or twice a week, or something everyday like a fresh salad  or a healthy meal are in my opinion an act of self-care which I encourage you to do also when you can. This is the year of being extra good to ourselves, so we can be our best selves for others too.

I made it at the request of my daughter as she loves a good mac and cheese.  Some of you may have made my recipe in Baking Made Easy which was a full on four cheese extravaganza with pancetta and spring onions. However this one has only 3 cheeses and a bit of thyme but it is super quick to make. Let me know how you get on with it.

400g of macaroni pasta

50g of butter

50g of plain flour

500ml of skimmed milk

300g of a good mature cheddar, grated

1-2 tsp of English Mustard

4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only

Pepper (the cheese is pretty salty so you will not need any added salt)

1 ciabatta roll, ripped up in to bitesized pieces.

60g of parmesan, grated

1 small ‘log’ of goats cheese- optional

oil

Serves 4-6

Put the oven on to 200c.

Cook the pasta according to the packets instructions, once cooked set aside.

As the pasta cooks, put the butter in a pan and allow it to melt, then add the flour and stir well until all of the flour is well mixed in with no lumps. Make sure you get in to the ‘corners’ of the pan where some flour often sits and hides. Take the pan off the heat and then add the milk in four ‘goes’. Stir well between each addition, so that the mixtures does not go lumpy. Once you have added all of the milk. Return it to the heat, but if you feel it is too lumpy then give it a good whisk with a hand whisk before returning it to the heat.

Slowly bring the sauce to the boil. Once it is boiling, let it bubble way for 1 minute making sure that the sauce does not ‘catch’ in the bottom of the pan and then take it off the heat and add the mustard, cheddar and of the thyme and a little bit of pepper and then set this aside.

Pop a little oil in a frying pan and then add the ciabatta bits.Toast them in the frying pan until they just start to brown and then set them aside. I tried to do this in the toaster but it did not end well. I cut the rolls in half down the middle and shoved it in the toaster slots but some bits got too burnt and some bits did not toast at all so I think the frying pan is a much better option.

Get a lasagne dish or a casserole dish and tip in your pasta. Then add the sauce and mix. Scatter the remaining thyme leaves on top of that, along with the bread, and the parmesan. Oh and I put some goats cheese on top which I had in the fridge also.

Pop in the oven for about 15 minutes or just enough time for the cheese on top to bubble and then remove it from the oven and serve.

Big love

Lorraine xxx

Ps: If you see any typos do let me know and I will correct them.

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