So this is what pregnancy leads to?!?! I was looking at a picture of my niece yesterday eating macaroni and cheese and felt a crazy pang of jealousy as she was devouring the cheesy concoction. I’m pretty sure if she had been in the same room at the time I would have shamelessly snatched some off her plate. Thankfully she wasn’t, and I was able to hold on to a small amount of self respect. Nevertheless, when dinner rolled around I couldn’t think of anything else. Pulling out some pantry staples, I was able to make some bowties and cheese that put my niece’s Kraft Mac to shame. Pregnant or not, I’m sure you’ll love this.
1lb 2oz good-quality macaroni (or in my case, bowties)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a knob of butter
a small bunch of fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves picked
3½oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for grating
3½oz fontina or taleggio cheese, roughly torn
3½oz mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
¼ of a nutmeg
a small ball of buffalo mozzarella cheese (I used 3 sticks of string cheese…I was desperate)
I also added: a pinch of cayenne, 2 cloves chopped garlic, and panko breadcrumbs on the very top for a nice crunch.
Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Cook the macaroni in a pan of salted boiling water 2 minutes short of the timing on the packet instructions, then drain in a colander and reserve a little of the cooking water. Heat the butter in a large heavy-based frying pan. When it starts to foam, add the marjoram or oregano and fry for a minute until it starts to crisp up, then turn off the heat. Add your cooked pasta to the marjoram or oregano butter, along with a couple of spoonfuls of the reserved cooking water and the Parmesan, fontina or taleggio and mascarpone. Return to a medium heat and toss and stir around until most of the cheese has melted and you have a lovely gooey sauce – you may need to add a little more of the reserved cooking water. Season to taste, then tip it all into an earthenware dish. Grate over the nutmeg, tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle over the extra Parmesan. Bake the macaroni cheese in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, finishing up with a quick whack under the grill, until golden brown and crispy on top.
From Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver.