The secret of making a great mac and cheese is a sharp, mature cheddar. This is the one you use for the shavings on top, to give that nice golden colour. For the sauce, use gruyere if you can. It's creamy and savory, and yet subtle.
But of course, that is if you live in the utopia, which I don't.
No gruyere? Fine. Take that edam ball.
No cheddar? Really? Fine. Let's try English's cheese, that red leicester please.
No elbow macaroni? Are you kidding me?
And that how my Fish Rigatoni with Peas and Cheese was born.
It's basically a standard mac & cheese, but I used Rigatoni, added left over pan-fried garoupa, peas (for additional texture and colour) and swapped the cheeses entirely.
I opt frozen peas because I hate the muted mustardy canned peas. I don't even like the taste. But when it's frozen, at least it tastes about right. Here you go, sans exact measurement..
Fish Rigatoni with Peas and Cheese
Preheat the oven to 175 C.
Cook the pasta as per instruction, on the last 2-3 mins add in the frozen peas.
In a pan, heat up 2 tbsp butter, add in 2 tbsp flour. Whisk.. this is the process called roux.
Slowly add in room temperature milk, while continue stirring.
Add in some nutmeg, salt and pepper. Taste!
Continue whisking till they thicken and smooth.
Turn off the heat. Stir in the diced/shredded gruyere (or in my case, edam).
Add in the pasta & the peas.
Add in the left over fish (already cooked. If not, just pan fry with S+P)
Mix and transfer to a baking pan.
Sprinkle the top with mature cheddar (or in my case, leicestershire)
Sprinkle with bread crumbs. About 2-3 tbsp.
Baked for 10-15 mins till your doneness.
Don't overbake because else the pasta will become dry and too hard to chew.