27th June 2009
Macaroni Cheese
main pasta
Totally has the Georgina seal of approval
Probably feeds 8, or 1 Eldorado family for day after day after day after day...

1lb Macaroni
6 oz mascarpone
4 oz Gruyère, finely grated or maybe 6 oz
4 oz Parmesan, finely grated
1 oz butter
2 Tblsps olive oil
8 oz cubed pancetta
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, pressed
2 oz plain flour
20 fl oz milk
¼ whole nutmeg, grated
4 large eggs, separated
salt & pepper
Weigh out all the ingredients, grate the cheeses, separate the eggs, mix the mascarpone and egg yolks to a smooth paste, chop the onion, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and fry up the pancetta until cooked through, add the butter and onions and let them soften uncovered without browning for 5 minutes, add the garlic purée.
Add the flour to the pan, stirring in to make a smooth paste, then gradually add the milk, a little at a time, stirring vigoroulsy with a wooden spoon. Then switch to a balloon whisk and keep whisking until you have a smooth sauce you may need extra milk. Season and add the nutmeg and leave the sauce to cook gently for 5 minutes.
After that turn off the heat and whisk in the mascarpone and egg yolks, followed by the Gruyère and half the Parmesan. Preheat the oven to 180-200°C, Gas Mark 6 and put in the baking dish I just used the pasta water to warm the baking dish, but maybe you need it hotter?.
Boil the macaroni 4-6 minutes until al dente (it will cook further in the oven).
Whilst the macaroni is cooking whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Drain the pasta in a colander, shake off excess water then tip it back into the pan and stir in the cheese sauce until evenly coated.
Now lightly fold in the egg whites, using a cutting and folding movement so as to retain as much air as possible. Don't overdo it. Remove the warm dish from the oven, fill with the pasta mix, scatter the reserved parmesan over and return to the oven top for 15 minutes or until the top is puffy and lightly browned.
Serve immediately

Really tasty - the topping is deliciously crunchy if the egg whites are not too well mixed in and there's something of a cheesy meringue layer still floating on top.
It really cries out for a tomato and red onion salad on the side, rather than the crispy leeks.

Macaroni Cheese

Crispy Leeks
side veg vegan
Oil for deep frying
A leek
Plain flour
Heat the oil in a small deep-sided pan
Shred the leek into matchsticks My strands were quite long - probably around 6 inches which might explain why they were a bit chewy
Test the oil with a leek strand to see if it fizzes up. Fry the leeks in batches until starting to colour then remove and strain. Dust with plain flour through a sieve. I thought this might help make the leeks crunchy, but I don't think it did.
Reheat the oil and when it is hot enough finish off the leeks until golden.
Drain on kitchen roll and serve.
As mentioned, the leeks were rather chewy.
All the online methods I've found don't use flour, and seem to have shorter lengths of leeks - I could try that...

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