The only good thing about the weather here in the UK at the moment is the opportunity to indulge in comfort food. Macaroni and cheese is a wonderful combination at the best of times, but the addition of chilli and salami just tipped me over the edge! I actually had been up for making mac n cheese since I had something very similar at Pizza Express recently that had Nduja sausage melted into it. God, it was good. So I was hoping I could recreate the chilli, meaty kick by following this Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli recipe in ‘What Katie Ate’ by Katie Quinn Davies – buy the book here.
When I made this I was a little concerned that the creamy sauce seemed very thin, but it did end up working out as it should – so don’t be afraid. I also recommend getting salami from the deli counter so it’s in one piece and you can cut it up into good sized chunks (rather than spindly little slices), and definitely roast the tomatoes as per the recipe. The sweetness that they add to this dish was a perfect addition! And the recipe says it serves 6 – and it’s a pretty whopping portion size, so it’s certainly a great dish to cook for a crowd.
KB rating 9/10. PR rating 9/10
Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli (serves 6)
- 250g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Olive oil, for cooking
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 500g macaroni
- 250g salami, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 60g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 1 litre milk
- Large handful of grated Parmesan, plus extra for topping and to serve
- Large handful grated pecorino, plus extra for topping
- Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 0.5 – 1tsp dried chilli flakes (to taste)
- 3 tbsp cream
- 1 tsp white truffle oil (optional) – I didn’t bother
- 80ml white wine
- Handful basil leaves, torn
- Crusty bread rolls and a green salad, to serve
Preheat the oven to 160C fan, 180C, gas mark 4.
Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut-side up. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then roast for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside, then increase the oven temperature to 180C fan, 200C, gas mark 6.
Half-fill a large saucepan with salted water, add a glug of olive oil and bring to a rolling boil over a high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 minutes until just al dente (the pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so don’t overcook at this point). Drain and rinse under cold water, then transfer to a large heavy-based casserole dish. Add another glug of oil and stir to coat the macaroni evenly, then add the salami and roast tomatoes. Stir again and season with a little salt and lots of pepper, then set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, then cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat a little, then gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened and is smooth and creamy. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the Parmesan, pecorino, nutmeg, dried chilli flakes, cream and truffle oil (if using), and season with a little more pepper. Mix together well, then pour over the macaroni mixture in the casserole dish, along with the white wine, and toss to coat well. Stir through the basil leaves, then scatter a generous amount of extra Parmesan and pecorino over the top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbling, golden brown and crispy (if you like, place the dish under a hot grill for a minute or two to get an even crispier topping).
Serve piping hot with extra grated Parmesan, crusty rolls and a green salad on the side.