Boxed mac and cheese doesn’t quite have the same nostalgia factor for those of us on this side of the pond – probably just as well considering this slightly more advanced version is i. incredibly unhealthy and ii. very easy to make. This Lazy Mac and Cheese trades the day-glo orange of Kraft mac for a pale hue of butter, parmesan and cheddar, and is all the more delicious for it. Some things:
- This is really easy – You’ll need pasta (it’s a pasta recipe) and cheese (it has cheese in the title), and that’s about it for things you might not already have in your cupboard. Whole milk is recommended for making the sauce – if you don’t have it, you’re better off subbing with pasta water rather than semi-skimmed milk as this won’t emulsify properly.
- It isn’t good for you – And yet it is.
- Salt your pasta water – Depending on who you listen to your pasta water should either be “as salty as the sea” or “not quite as salty as the sea”. Regardless: salty. You won’t be ingesting all of the salt you put in – you’re just seasoning the water – and you’ll taste the difference.
There are two cheeses in this recipe: parmesan and cheddar. Parmesan is mandatory, but feel free to throw in another type of queso if you prefer – we quite like the strong cut of cheddar across the other salty/buttery flavours in here. Apart from that, it’s hard to mess up – it is a lazy mac and cheese, after all.
Lazy Mac and Cheese
- 500 g Pasta (Shells recommended)
- 150 g Butter
- 2 tbsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 220 ml Whole Milk
- 100 g Parmesan Cheese; grated
- 250 g Cheddar Cheese; grated
- Add salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil – we'd recommend at least four big handfuls of salt. Add your pasta to the boiling water and cook for one minute less than package instructions for al dente.
- While your pasta cooks, heat about a quarter of your butter and 2 tablespoons of ground black pepper in a large pot over medium. Stir until the butter is melted and the pepper is fragrant, about two minutes or so.
- Add whole milk to butter mixture and bring to a simmer. Whisk in all of your remaining butter a knob at a time, allowing each knob to melt before adding the next. If pasta is still cooking by the time all of your butter is melted, turn heat off butter mixture and cover to keep warm.
- Towards the end of the pasta cooking time, skim off 250ml or so of pasta cooking water. We'll use this to loosen our pasta sauce.
- Drain pasta and add to the pot with the milk/butter mixture. Return to medium heat and mix, ensuring all shells are coated.
- Add about a third each of your parmesan and cheddar, stirring the pasta constantly. Add your reserved pasta water in increments and continue to stir. Repeat this with the remainder of your cheeses, adding in pasta water where necessary. You're aiming for a glossy, smooth sauce – you don't want it claggy or thick. If you're coming back for seconds the sauce will thicken as it cools, so don't be shy with the pasta water.
- Season with salt if required; top with a crack of black pepper and truffle oil (optional).
If you’re reading this recipe, you’re probably lazy – so you’ll probably be interested in our outrageously straightforward Chicken Korma recipe. It’s not really a chicken korma. But ssssh.
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