Normally, uni student Stu, from our story, is a beans-on-toast kind of man. But now that (much to his family’s surprise) he’s bagged himself a girlfriend, Becky, signs of change are afoot. For their six-month anniversary, he’s decided to go all out and cook her favourite meal: mac ’n’ cheese. With some Stu-style touches (bacon, yessss!), and a little ambient candlelight, it’s the best mac ’n’ cheese she's ever had.
- Preheat the grill to high. In a pan set over a medium heat, heat the oil. Once hot but not smoking, add the onions and cook for 10 minutes, until soft.
- Meanwhile, in a pan of salted boiling water, cook the macaroni for 10 minutes.
- Add the tomato purée and tomatoes to the onions and cook for 7-8 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from the heat and then stir through the mascarpone and spinach. Season to taste.
- Drain the cooked macaroni, add to the sauce and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Grate over the cheese and cook under the hot grill for 3-4 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from the grill and evenly crumble over the bacon strips before serving.
For baked pasta dishes like this, boil the pasta for slightly less time than usual.
Add a tablespoon or two of leftover mascarpone to scrambled eggs to make them extra rich, or serve with crumble or fruit salad.
For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home.