It’s our darling Annabubby’s 3rd birthday today and what better way to spend it than a day at the zoo. The girls have been talking about the giant daddy gorilla ever since and Ame and my backs are still sore after lugging the kids around up all of those hills. The absence of Pete and Cork Daddy’s shoulders was certainly felt.
So for bubby’s birthday dinner tonight at Meemar and Grandad’s place, I wanted to make something she’d love. And what better meal to dish up than my Grandma’s decadent macaroni and cheese with a barbecue chook (a favourite in our household) and a simple green salad.
Now my Grandma Betty is a marvellous cook. Her shortbread, fruit cake and melting moments are legendary. As kids, we grew up eating this delicious macaroni and cheese at Bet’s house in Summer Hill often; very happy memories indeed. Talk about comfort food at it’s best.
This simple recipe makes a truckload of this totally more-ish pasta and is so affordable to cook for a crowd. I haven’t made it in a long time and Charlotte thanked me for the “best dinner she has ever had!” Doesn’t get much better than that for a compliment now does it?
Make this for an easy midweek meal that the whole family will devour or keep it up your sleeve to take along to a barbie. Take this dish along and you’ll be invited back again and again. The creamy macaroni (made creamy by an old fashioned white sauce instead of using cream) is topped off nicely with a slightly crunchy cheesy topping. With some fresh green leaves to balance it out, it really is special.
Don’t think our baby girl could of asked for a better birthday.
grandma betty’s macaroni + cheese
2 x cups of macaroni
1 x large brown onion, finely diced
4 x rashers of bacon, finely diced
60 grams of butter
4 x tablespoons of plain flour
4 x cups of milk
A sprinkling of dried nutmeg
A sprinkling of dried parsley
Salt and white pepper
1 x cup of grated tasty cheese
A dash of olive oil
- Cook the macaroni in a large saucepan full of salted boiling water for approx 8 minutes or until the pasta is just cooked. Strain and set aside. (Don’t overcook the pasta whatever you do).
- Meanwhile, sauté the onion and bacon in a dash of olive oil until cooked.
- In a medium sized saucepan, heat the butter over a med-low heat until melted and then stir in the flour to form a roux.
- Gradually pour in the milk whilst continuing to stir until all incorporated. Cook the white sauce until it thickens slightly and then add the nutmeg and parsley and season with salt and white pepper. Take off the heat.
- Mix the pasta, bacon/onion mixture and white sauce together and pour in to a large casserole dish.
- Sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake in a moderate oven (180℃) for approx 30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top.
Serve with a green salad and barbecue chook.
- 2 cups of macaroni doesn’t sound like a lot but gosh it makes a large casserole dish full.
- 4 cups of milk in the white sauce makes for quite a ‘wet’ white sauce which is what you want.
- Grandma says that her original recipe used ham instead of bacon and also had red capsicum in it (however she always made it without).
- You really don’t want to overcook the pasta as you don’t want it being soggy.
If you make my Grandma Betty’s macaroni and cheese, please leave your comments below. xx