What’s cooking – Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Pancetta & Leek

Comfort food has well and truly made a comeback. In this weather there is nothing quite as good as hot baked one pot creations – pies, stews, lasagne to name but a few.

Macaroni and cheese, however, gets a very special treatment. Even on menus around town (Spuntino makes the best in my opinion) you can see the humble M&C triumphing over more fancy dishes. We people, love hugs in food. And this gem below gives a bear..


• 50g butter

• 50g plain flour

• 1 pint milk

• 1 leek

• Some pancetta

• Macaroni Pasta

• A block of cheddar cheese

• Seasoning

Slice and wash the leek, then fry in olive oil.

Add diced pancetta and carry on frying until pancetta is cooked. You can add a bit of wine to add flavour and carry on cooking gently.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the milk to get a smooth sauce. Return to the heat and, stirring all the time, bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 8-10 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

Grate the cheddar and add half to the sauce.

Cook the macaroni pasta in salted boiling water short of al dente, the pasta will carry on cooking when baking.

Mix the leek and pancetta to the white sauce, add the macaroni and place in a dish.

Cover with the remaining of the grated cheddar cheese and bake for 30 mins mark 4.

As far as wine matching is concerned, I tend to clash rich dishes with wines that are the opposite.

I had this Mac ‘n’ Cheee with a white Sancerre. The 2010 Sancerre Les Criles from ‘Gitton Père & Fils’ is bright, flinty and mineral enough to cut through the richness of the dish. Worth a try.

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