Mac and cheese with crispy bacon

I love pasta and cheese, and combining the two is a thing of joy for me.

Not everyone in the house is quite so convinced though, so a new approach was needed. The River Cottage Family Cookbook has a recipe for mac with crispy bacon that I thought might sway popular opinion!

It’s the simplest comfort food, really. There are all sorts of controversies about the cheeses used and the shape of the pasta, but a lot comes down to using good basics and personal taste.

Cook some pasta to very al dente – at least 2 minutes shorter than the pack time – in plenty of salted water. Boy Wonder had picked out this fusilli, which is a great shape for it, even though I wouldn’t use the “regular” kind as it can’t really hold up to things.

While that’s cooking, make a roux, and add cheese. The recipe calls for mature cheddar. I used medium cheddar and a chunk of parmesan, as that’s what was in the fridge. I also added a tablespoon of Le Roule that we hadn’t finished up yet.

When the pasta is done, mix well with the sauce (of which there is loads!) and into a baking dish.

While it’s bubbling away, I fried some smoked streaky rashers. I wanted these to go on top, rather than to the side, so chopped them up first.

Dish out of the oven. Add bacon.

Serve, with some broccoli in our case.

Absolutely delicious, though the portion sizes in the recipe are absolutely enormous. I made a half quantity, and it did 2.5 of us with a load leftover. Next time I’ll make a third, as I’m not the world’s biggest fan of reheated pasta – it’s always a bit overcooked for me (lasagne being the exception!).

This is going in the “make again” list!

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