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Maz's Marvellous Macaroni

Hey everyone, hope you are all well! Today I'm gonna share with you one of my favourite recipes. Food is a really big part of my life (my curves are a testament to that...), and part of the reason for that is my wonderful mum, Maz. She's a fantastic cook and one of those people that would never let you sit hungry in her home. She cooks some wonderful things and I'm always begging her for recipes! Wifey and Phebes, my daughter, absolutely adore going to her house for dinner so its always a hit if I manage to pull off a half decent replica at home. This is a real family favourite!
So lets get down to business!

Ingredients (serves 4)

225g Dried Macaroni
600ml Semi Skimmed Milk
250g Mature Cheddar
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Plain Flour
1/2 Tsp Garlic Granules or 1 Clove Garlic Crushed
2 Tsp Mild Mustard
3 Rashers of Smoked Bacon
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Worcester Sauce
Salt and Pepper To Taste

Set the oven to 180 C and set aside a medium sized oven dish. In a non stick medium saucepan, melt the butter on a fairly high heat, you want it to melt but not turn brown. Add the flour and stir until it forms a smooth paste. Make sure to beat any lumps out of it. Once it has absorbed all of the butter you can begin adding the milk, whisking hard to make sure that the paste dissolves and doesn't leave lumps. Continue whisking until the mixture begins to thicken. It is ready when it coats the back of a spoon. If you are concerned about lumps being left, you can pass it through a sieve. At this point you can stir in the garlic granules, mustard and a good whack of freshly ground black pepper.  Leave to the side while you cook the pasta until its almost ready. Don't take it all the way as it can end up going mushy, we will be sticking it in the oven so it will soften then. Drain the pasta and stick it in the oven dish. Chop the bacon into 1 cm cubes and pop into a frying pan with the olive oil. Fry until they start to crisp up and add the Worcester sauce. Once they are beautiful and crispy, throw them over the top of the pasta and stir to combine. It is entirely up to you whether you drain the bacon. I don't, I add all the lovely bacony oil in too! Not the healthiest option, but definitely the tastiest! Back to the sauce, pop it on the heat and stir until it warms back up then take it off and chuck in 150g of the cheese. Stir well until its all melted and have a taste. Add salt and more pepper if needed, you can also put extra mustard, cheese or garlic if you like. Pour over the pasta and stir well to coat it all. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top and shove it in the oven for about 20 mins to half an hour. Keep an eye on it to make sure the top doesn't burn. Then you're ready to go! Serve with warm Italian bread, chips or salad or just all by itself! Major comfort food for when you need a big, warm, cheesy hug!

Hope you enjoy this recipe, let me know if you've tried it and how it went!

Jo xx


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