Our stomachs growl thinking of this. Everyone knows mac ’n’ cheese but in the Caribbean we really flava it up – at parties it’s the first to go. We serve it as a side alongside some chicken, rice and salad. You’ve got to try it and feel da’ flava.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tsp salt
1kg dried macaroni
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
500ml evaporated or whole milk
2 eggs, beaten
100g plain flour
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp honey, plus extra to taste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 scotch bonnet pepper, deseeded and diced
300g red Leicester cheese, grated
300g mild Cheddar, grated
300g mozzarella, grated
50g cream crackers, crushed into very fine crumbs (or use cheese crackers or Doritos)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat then add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Set aside.
2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the salt and macaroni then cook for 10 minutes (do not fully cook as it will also go in the oven). Drain, return to the pan, add the butter and 1 tsp black pepper and mix well.
3. For the sauce, pour the milk into a bowl then add the eggs, flour, mustard, paprika, honey, chilli powder, remaining pepper, scotch bonnet and softened onion. Add 100g of each cheese to the mixture and whisk.
4. Pour the sauce on to the pasta and stir; this should give it a creamy, cheesy look. Get a large casserole dish and spoon in a layer of macaroni, about one third of the dish height, then sprinkle with a third of the remaining cheeses. Add another layer of macaroni and sprinkle with more cheeses. Repeat these steps until you’ve used all the pasta, saving a good amount of cheese for the top layer.
4. Once the top layer is covered with cheeses, give it more added flava by sprinkling over the cracker crumbs, then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the inside is bubbling and the top is crispy. Once cooked, drizzle extra honey over to taste.
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Original Flava: Caribbean Recipes From Home by Craig and Shaun McAnuff is published by Bloomsbury, price £22. To order a copy for £17.60 until 8 September call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.