Recipes, reviews & lifestyle

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Mac & Cheese

As you may know, I recently visited New York on my Honeymoon. During the trip, which was over Christmas, Fabio gifted me Amanda Hesser's   Cooking for Mr Latte. I know it normally isn't important but he bought the book from one of my most favourite bookshops in New York, the independent booksellers, McNally Jackson (52 Prince St, NYC). It came all lovingly gift-wrapped by the bookshop, and I was so happy to receive it as I didn't really know who Amanda Hesser was (I know!!) but now I do, and I'm glad as she has some pretty funny stories to tell from when she wrote for the New York Times, of which her book explains and, each chapter ends with a few recipes. Now bringing back to the topic of this blog, I recently tried one of these recipes; her Grandma Helen's Mac & Cheese. 
This traditional Mac & Cheese has no fancy bits, it is what it is meant to be: pure comfort food. 


2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups of grated Monterey Jack Cheese + extra 1/4 cup for topping (I couldn't find this whole, so I opted for breaking up the Monterey jack ready sliced cheese)
3 1/2 cups cooked macaroni 
1 cup of smalls cubes of cooked ham 
1  cup Italian plum tomatoes 
3 1/2 cups of coarse breadcrumbs (use stale bread cut into cubes - I used a stale baguette)
Black pepper (ground or not - Hesser's Grandma uses the already ground stuff)


1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees. Butter a casserole dish. 
2. Heat the butter in a saucepan until foamy

3. Make a b├ęchamel by sprinkling in flour and whisking until it turns golden and then slowly adding the milk until all incorporated.  Keep whisking. 

4. Simmer over a medium heat and let thicken.
5. Stir in cheese and take off the heat. 

6. Stir in the cooked Macaroni and then the ham. 

7. Add tomatoes by squeezing and breaking up in your fingertips. 

8. Pour into a casserole dish (as you can see I have already done so beforehand!)
9. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of cheese. Grind pepper on top and bake until bubbling and brown, about 25 minutes. 

10. Dig in!!!


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