When the grown-ups indulge in culinary experimentation, it’s always a challenge to make something easy and more suitable for the kids. This time they were quite vocal about it and demanded Mac ‘n Cheese! Luckily, I had this version by Marco Pierre White still in my culinary bucket list.
Marco Pierre White’s recipe – as shown as a masterclass on Masterchef Australia – cannot be considered a healthy option taking into account loads of cream, mascarpone, and cheddar. Therefore, accepting the risk of instantly clogged arteries, we indulged in the richest and moreish Mac ‘n Cheese we ever had!
UPDATE: As the Masterchef Australia site appears to be geoblocking Europe now, I have taken the recipe up below (it still had the same typos and errors in the instructions as 4 years ago!) with a couple of very minor adjustments.
There is some extra prep work for the different kinds of mushrooms and the shallot/garlic pastes (which I had to blitz first before actually being able to ground in a pestle and mortar). However, the effort pays off due to the added earthiness to the dish whilst not turning it into Mac ‘n Mushroom.
Marco Pierre White uses slightly less butter and flour for the roux compared to more usual ratios for béchamel sauces (30 instead of 50 gram each on 1 liter of fluids), but due to the cream and mascarpone, it still came together very nicely.
The recipe is accurate, easy to follow and indeed serves 8 persons.
The only thing we could think of to enhance this dish (and make it even more decadent) was a shaving of truffle.
Verdict: 9/10; Will definitely be made again, it will be soooo good on a cold winter day….
The Recipe (serves 8)
- 500g / 15oz Macaroni pasta (I used Rigatoni tubes)
- 30g / 1oz flour
- 30g / 1oz butter
- 500ml / 2 cups milk
- 500ml / 2 cups cream
- 250g / 8oz cheddar, finely grated
- 50g / 2oz mascarpone
- 3 tbsp (clarified) butter
- 250g / 8oz brown mushrooms, sliced finely
- 1 large shallot, ground to a paste
- 2 garlic, ground to a paste
- 15g dried mushrooms (like morels, trompettes de la mort), soaked, drained and finely sliced
- 50g / 2oz parmesan, finely grated
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a large cooking pot with ample salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook according to the packet’s instructions until almost al dente.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook the mixture until golden brown, for about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Gradually add cold milk while whisking, allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Then add the cream and cheddar cheese and stir to combine.
- When pasta is cooked, drain and add to the cheese sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, melt the (clarified) butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the mushrooms until golden. Then add the shallot and garlic paste and cook for another minute until fragrant. Finally, add the soaked mushrooms and stir to combine.
- Remove from the heat and stir the mushroom mixture, together with the grated parmesan, into the cheesy macaroni mixture, and serve immediately.
The recipe said to serve immediately but I made it on Saturday morning anticipating reheating it in the oven that night. Obviously, I needed to taste it first… and ended up tasting over and over and over again, it was that good. I was finally able to restrain myself but did kind of spoil my appetite for lunch.
Due to the change of plan, it only ended up on the dinner table on Sunday (and Monday…). Reheating is not a problem in view of the creaminess of the sauce. About 30 minutes at 160℃/320℉ will do the trick, just remember to cover with tin foil for the first 15 minutes or so to avoid to top to brown too much.