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 the goods

10oz gruyere cheese, grated

4oz sharp cheddar, grated

3 1/2 oz asiago, grated*

3 1/2 oz parmesan, freshly grated

1 onion

6 whole cloves

2 bay leaves

1 quart milk

3 1/2 oz butter

3 1/2 oz flour

1 lb macaroni noodles

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

salt and pepper

*you can omit the asiago and add an equal measure of cheddar

for lobster:

2oz unsalted butter

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 pinch saffron threads

1 uncooked lobster tail

time: active 40 minutes, total 1 hr

you will need:

  • cheese grater
  • 2 medium saucepans
  • 1 large pot for pasta
  • mixing bowl
  • baking dish

serve with:

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the perfect mac & cheese 

peel: the skin and first layer of the onion, stud it with the 6 cloves and place it in a saucepan with the milk and bay leaves. heat over a low flame and remove the saucepan from the heat as soon as it starts to simmer. allow the onion to steep in the milk for 10 minutes as it cools

grate: all of the cheeses and combine them in a mixing bowl. mix by hand to make sure that the different cheeses blend

heat: a large pot of salted water, cover and set aside to bring to boiling point. add pasta and cook until al dente

melt: the butter in a medium saucepan, when it has melted, add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. the mix will thicken into a ball. this is a 'roux', cook the butter and flour for a couple of minutes. lowering the heat if necessary

strain: the milk into a jug, discard the onion, cloves and bay leaves

pour: the milk, a little at a time into the saucepan with the roux. it will thicken immediately, keep stirring and adding milk until all of the milk has been added. bring to a boil and allow to simmer gently for 5  minutes, stirring constantly

pre heat: oven to 400f

add: 3/4 of the cheese mix to the roux, also add the nutmeg and pepper. stir until the cheese has melted and taste for saltiness. add salt if needed. pour this cheese sauce over the cooked, drained pasta and stir to combine thoroughly *

pour: pasta mixture into a large baking dish

mix: breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. sprinkle this mix on top of the pasta

bake: in hot oven around 20 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown and pasta is bubbling

*if adding lobster, melt 2oz butter with 1 clove fresh garlic and good pinch of saffron threads, pour this over the chopped flesh from 1 lobster tail and stir this mix through the pasta and cheese sauce

serve: with a good salad. it is particularly good with a bitter green salad