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Recipe: Kate Young’s Macaroni Cheese

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Kate Young, The Little Library blogger and Baking Fiction Instagrammer, perfectly pairs dishes with the books she reads. Here, she pairs a much tastier version of the macaroni cheese recipe written about in Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women:

‘Mrs Jubb, who might have been a good cook with any encouragement, must have lost heart long ago. Tonight she set before us a pale macaroni cheese, and a dish of boiled potatoes, and I noticed a blancmange or ‘shape’, also of an indeterminate colour, in a glass dish on the sideboardNot enough salt, or perhaps no salt, I thought, as I ate the macaroni. And not really enough cheese.’

– from Excellent Women, by Barbara Pym

‘November is a month for soups, for stews, and for macaroni cheese. Food that warms and comforts; the type that you want when you arrive back from a long blustery walk, or a rainy commute. Food that you can leave in the oven, or on the stove, while you find warm, dry clothes and a pair of wooly socks. This dish is from one of my favourite literary discoveries of the year: Barbara Pym’s novels. It sounds so unappealing and disappointing on the page that I was moved to make it richer, saltier and generally more satisfying. Mildred Lathbury deserves a really great one,’ Kate Young.


Macaroni Cheese

Want more literature-inspired recipes?

Check out Kate’s blog, Instagram and Twitter.

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Preparation Time10 MINUTES

Cooking Time40 MINUTES

Resting Time0 MINUTES

Serves3

LevelMedium


ingredients

125g diced pancetta or lardons
230g dried macaroni
Generous pinch salt
50g salted butter
50g plain flour
300ml whole milk
50g grated sharp cheddar
75g grated mozzarella
Generous grating nutmeg
2tbsp breadcrumbs
1tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Equipment

Small frying pan
Wooden spoon
Two saucepans
Whisk
Colander
Ovenproof dish (I used one that is 25cm x 15cm x 4cm deep, but you should use whatever size you have)

Want more literature-inspired recipes?

Check out Kate’s blog, Instagram and Twitter.

1

Preheat your oven to 200C. Warm the frying pan over a medium heat and tip in the lardons/pancetta. Fry them gently for around 15 minutes, while you get on with the rest of the dish. Return to give them a stir every now and then, to ensure they don’t burn. Don’t add any butter or oil to this pan – any necessary fat will come from the lardons.

2

Fill one of the saucepans with water and bring to the boil. Once it is bubbling enthusiastically, add a generous pinch of salt and pour in the macaroni. Cook until the pasta is tender but still has a little bite – which should be around seven minutes. Drain and set aside.

3

In the meantime, melt the butter in the second saucepan and, once it is bubbling, tip in the flour. Stir with the wooden spoon for three minutes, to cook off the taste of the flour. Pour in the milk and whisk until the sauce thickens. Don’t worry if this takes a couple of minutes; it will happen very suddenly, so do keep an eye on it and keep whisking, or it will become lumpy.

4

Over a very low heat, whisk in the cheese until it melts and the sauce becomes stringy. Remove from the heat and add the nutmeg.

5

Tip the pasta and lardons (and their fat) into the cheese sauce, and stir well until the ingredients are distributed evenly. Scoop the whole gooey lot into the greased ovenproof dish. 

6

Top with breadcrumbs and grated parmesan and bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the dish is browned in patches on top. Sort out a salad or drinks before bringing the dish to the table, giving the molten cheese time to cool a little. 

If it makes your life easier, you can make big batches of this, bake it and then freeze it. When you want to eat it, put it back in the oven to bake again until the cheese sauce is bubbling.

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Preparation Time10 MINUTES

Cooking Time40 MINUTES

Resting Time0 MINUTES

Serves3

LevelMedium


ingredients

125g diced pancetta or lardons
230g dried macaroni
Generous pinch salt
50g salted butter
50g plain flour
300ml whole milk
50g grated sharp cheddar
75g grated mozzarella
Generous grating nutmeg
2tbsp breadcrumbs
1tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Equipment

Small frying pan
Wooden spoon
Two saucepans
Whisk
Colander
Ovenproof dish (I used one that is 25cm x 15cm x 4cm deep, but you should use whatever size you have)

Want more literature-inspired recipes?

Check out Kate’s blog, Instagram and Twitter.

1

Preheat your oven to 200C. Warm the frying pan over a medium heat and tip in the lardons/pancetta. Fry them gently for around 15 minutes, while you get on with the rest of the dish. Return to give them a stir every now and then, to ensure they don’t burn. Don’t add any butter or oil to this pan – any necessary fat will come from the lardons.

2

Fill one of the saucepans with water and bring to the boil. Once it is bubbling enthusiastically, add a generous pinch of salt and pour in the macaroni. Cook until the pasta is tender but still has a little bite – which should be around seven minutes. Drain and set aside.

3

In the meantime, melt the butter in the second saucepan and, once it is bubbling, tip in the flour. Stir with the wooden spoon for three minutes, to cook off the taste of the flour. Pour in the milk and whisk until the sauce thickens. Don’t worry if this takes a couple of minutes; it will happen very suddenly, so do keep an eye on it and keep whisking, or it will become lumpy.

4

Over a very low heat, whisk in the cheese until it melts and the sauce becomes stringy. Remove from the heat and add the nutmeg.

5

Tip the pasta and lardons (and their fat) into the cheese sauce, and stir well until the ingredients are distributed evenly. Scoop the whole gooey lot into the greased ovenproof dish. 

6

Top with breadcrumbs and grated parmesan and bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the dish is browned in patches on top. Sort out a salad or drinks before bringing the dish to the table, giving the molten cheese time to cool a little. 

If it makes your life easier, you can make big batches of this, bake it and then freeze it. When you want to eat it, put it back in the oven to bake again until the cheese sauce is bubbling.

SHOW MORE
SHOW LESS

Kate Young, The Little Library blogger and Baking Fiction Instagrammer, perfectly pairs dishes with the books she reads. Here, she pairs a much tastier version of the macaroni cheese recipe written about in Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women:

‘Mrs Jubb, who might have been a good cook with any encouragement, must have lost heart long ago. Tonight she set before us a pale macaroni cheese, and a dish of boiled potatoes, and I noticed a blancmange or ‘shape’, also of an indeterminate colour, in a glass dish on the sideboardNot enough salt, or perhaps no salt, I thought, as I ate the macaroni. And not really enough cheese.’

– from Excellent Women, by Barbara Pym

‘November is a month for soups, for stews, and for macaroni cheese. Food that warms and comforts; the type that you want when you arrive back from a long blustery walk, or a rainy commute. Food that you can leave in the oven, or on the stove, while you find warm, dry clothes and a pair of wooly socks. This dish is from one of my favourite literary discoveries of the year: Barbara Pym’s novels. It sounds so unappealing and disappointing on the page that I was moved to make it richer, saltier and generally more satisfying. Mildred Lathbury deserves a really great one,’ Kate Young.


Macaroni Cheese

1

Preheat your oven to 200C. Warm the frying pan over a medium heat and tip in the lardons/pancetta. Fry them gently for around 15 minutes, while you get on with the rest of the dish. Return to give them a stir every now and then, to ensure they don’t burn. Don’t add any butter or oil to this pan – any necessary fat will come from the lardons.

2

Fill one of the saucepans with water and bring to the boil. Once it is bubbling enthusiastically, add a generous pinch of salt and pour in the macaroni. Cook until the pasta is tender but still has a little bite – which should be around seven minutes. Drain and set aside.

3

In the meantime, melt the butter in the second saucepan and, once it is bubbling, tip in the flour. Stir with the wooden spoon for three minutes, to cook off the taste of the flour. Pour in the milk and whisk until the sauce thickens. Don’t worry if this takes a couple of minutes; it will happen very suddenly, so do keep an eye on it and keep whisking, or it will become lumpy.

4

Over a very low heat, whisk in the cheese until it melts and the sauce becomes stringy. Remove from the heat and add the nutmeg.

5

Tip the pasta and lardons (and their fat) into the cheese sauce, and stir well until the ingredients are distributed evenly. Scoop the whole gooey lot into the greased ovenproof dish. 

6

Top with breadcrumbs and grated parmesan and bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the dish is browned in patches on top. Sort out a salad or drinks before bringing the dish to the table, giving the molten cheese time to cool a little. 

If it makes your life easier, you can make big batches of this, bake it and then freeze it. When you want to eat it, put it back in the oven to bake again until the cheese sauce is bubbling.

SHOW MORE
SHOW LESS
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WRITTEN BY:
Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

READ MORE BY Sonya Gellert

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WRITTEN BY:
Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

READ MORE BY Sonya Gellert

You decide

Your dream holiday destination

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Profile Photo
WRITTEN BY:
Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

READ MORE BY Sonya Gellert

You decide

Your dream holiday destination

View Results

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