With the excesses of Christmas behind us, I’m on the lookout for wholesome winter dishes to have a go at making.
And this twist on a classic is ticking my boxes. It’s quick to rustle up, scrumptious and even my toddler shouldn’t turn his nose up at it.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
- 8 rashers streaky bacon
- 50g breadcrumbs
- 150g Cheddar cheese
- 300g macaroni
- 2 bunches British asparagus (spears trimmed and cut in half)
- 40g butter
- 40g plain flour
- 400ml milk
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
What to do
- Heat the grill and cook the bacon on each side until very crisp. Chop into small chunks and combine with the bread crumbs and ¼ of the cheese then set aside.
- Boil the kettle to fill a large pan. When boiling vigorously in the pan add a pinch of salt and the macaroni. Cook for 9 minutes then add the asparagus and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- While the macaroni is cooking, melt the butter in a small thick-based saucepan, sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook whilst stirring for a minute then add the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously so it is absorbed into the flour and slowly makes a smooth sauce. If you get any lumps, don’t panic, just beat vigorously with the wooden spoon and they’ll disperse. Stir in the mustard, some black pepper and the remaining cheese.
- Once the macaroni and asparagus are cooked, drain well and return them to the pan. Pour over the cheese sauce and stir to coat well. Tip the macaroni into a large oven dish, sprinkle over the breadcrumb mixture and return to the grill for the top to melt and brown.
For more asparagus-based recipes, go www.enjoyasparagus.com