Been a while since I put a recipe up but this just couldn’t be missed. Actually, I thought about calling this dish Deliaroni because it’s an EVEN LAZIER version of Delia’s mother’s macaroni recipe from How To Cheat At Cooking.
For those of you outside the UK who may not have heard of Delia, she is the country’s most famous food witch and ardent football fan, as well as being some kind of Christian or something. (So, one out of three, then.)
Anyway, like the rest of the country, I absolutely adore her… Even if she has steered me wrong with a couple of recipes. (There was that incident with minced lamb from a can. All I can say is I’m glad I don’t have that many Greek friends.)
But this particular one is off the hook. It’s definitely in the… Ahh… ‘English style’ of macaroni in that it is not the least bit Italian and nor does it bear much of a resemblance to the macaroni I grew up with in Australia. But that came out of a box and was highlighter yellow/orange. I miss it. You can get it at Selfridges, apparently, but I’m not paying three quid for something I used to pay less than one Australian dollar for. Also I now have Deliaroni:
Holy crap, this is so easy. But you have to be a bit of a supermarket slut (if you’re in the UK). I have tried it with ready made sauces from the fancier supermarkets and there’s nothing for it. Gotta be Sainsbury’s. The rest can come from other (better) supermarkets but I don’t want to hear any complaints because most/both of my readers are foreign so it doesn’t mean jack to them, either way.
- Two tubs freshly prepared Three Cheese Sauce. This would be the Sainsbury’s one in my case but I’m sure your supermarket has a variant. If it creeps you out, just trust me. Buy the damn sauce! (300g each.)
- 250g grated cheddar. Usually this comes in convenient, pre-grated packs of 250 grams. Bam.
- Tablespoon of creme fraiche. I went half-fat but it’s a dish made mostly of cheese so what is that really going to do? Do you think half-fat will make this a ‘diet meal’? Well, it won’t.
- 250g macaroni pasta. Or some kind, anyway. I’m not the fucking pasta police.
- 125g button mushrooms, sliced. This is half an M&S pack but however you want to roll is fine.
- 1 diced brown onion. Nothing funny to say about that.
- Half a handful of frozen peas… But this was just because I have some and wanted to break up that cheese with something green. You have some in your freezer, too. Pretty sure all freezers come packed with bags of ten year old frozen peas.
- 120g pancetta. Use bacon if you like. Use more bacon. Or none. This can very easily be made vegetarian with the addition of more mushrooms and greens.
- A bunch of cherry tomatoes, halved.
- Half a bunch of spring onions but mostly just the green bits. This can be omitted because I just sprinkle it on the top so that when I lift it from the oven it doesn’t look like a kilo of bubbling cheese that I’m about to eat alone in a single bedroom decorated with posters of Justin Bieber, crying in the dark.
- Some freshly grated parmesan to sprinkle on the top. However much you want because if you go with the half-fat creme fraiche you’re looking at a really light meal…. A snack, really.
The middle ten minutes of the preparation of the dish are when you are going to wish you were a cartoon octopus that plays the drums in an underwater orchestra by day and cleans enormous houses using multiple feather dusters by night. Basically there are a couple of different pots that require stirring at the same time. Otherwise, it’s super easy.
When it goes into the oven, it looks like this:
- Preheat oven.
- Put some salted water on the boil for the pasta. That’s pot one.
- Throw the onion and bacon into a fry pan. Cook for about five minutes before throwing in the peas and mushrooms. You’ll know this is done when the mushrooms shrink like ballsacks in the Bering Sea. That’s pot two.
- Put the tubs of three cheese sauce into the third pot. When it starts to bubble, throw in the grated cheddar and the creme fraiche and stir to combine it all. That’s pot three.
- Really, it’s just a matter of getting all these things into a casserole or ceramic baking tray when they are done. I found the mushroom combo was done first, so I dumped that in. Then the cheese. The the pasta, which I drained and dumped in on top.
- Stir it all together and give it a blast from your spice weasel/pepper grinder. It should look gooey and delicious but still only half done.
- Scatter the halved cherry tomatoes on top. Only then can you scatter the parmesan on top of the dish. (Ideally you want some of the parmesan to be on top of the tomato halves.
- Scatter the chopped spring onions on top of that and put it in the oven.
When it comes out it looks like this:
Serves 4 as a main or 2 over two nights. Two truly guilty and delicious nights. It actually microwaved really well the second night.