Around here this favourite recipe is known as Hugh Grant's macaroni cheese or simply Hugh Grant, as in "What will we have for dinner?", "What about Hugh Grant." This is because it comes from a very old magazine clipping describing Hugh's favourite dish at LA restaurant Mimosa.
From what I can see online Mimosa is sadly now closed. But it seems the recipe lives on, I'm obviously not the only one who loves this. There's a slightly different version on Epicurious. Though that said we've adapted it quite a bit over the years, and our version is quite different. Here's the original:
Hugh Grant's Macaroni Cheese (serves one)
1/4 cup elbow macaroni 1/4 cup milk 1/4 cup cream 3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese 2 Tbsp chopped prosciutto pinch ground nutmeg salt and pepper to taste 1/3 cup grated Swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (392 F) In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups salted water to boil. Add macaroni and cook till barely tender. Drain well. In a medium bowl combine macaroni, milk, cream, parmesan, prosciutto, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Place mixture in a shallow baking dish. Top with Swiss cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned. Rest for 5 minutes. Serve.
As I said we've modified it over the years. For a start we obviously make lots more than one serve. Poor old Hugh was obviously eating on his own. Adjust it to how much pasta you usually eat, last time I made it I used about 3 cups of dry pasta. However hard I try though to make enough for leftovers the next day (for my lunch!) it never happens. And three cups made two dishes worth as it needs to be quite shallow to stay crunchy. About two inches deep max.
We often use sour cream for cooking, we like the slight tang and it keeps well in the fridge so we substitute that. I also like to add some colour and vitamin C to the recipe so I add a couple of handfuls of defrosted frozen peas and small pieces of roasted pumpkin. Just roll the small pumpkin chunks in olive oil and sea salt and bake them till soft and then mix them in.
Mr F doesn't like prosciutto (?!) so we usually use bacon. (And this year we are trying to buy all our meat free range and pasture fed - we're lucky to have a couple of butchers close by that sell this - but its hard not to grab a pack when you're at the supermarket, we'll see how we go.) We precook our bacon and if your kids aren't adverse to onion you could fry some well and add that.
I also mix quite a lot of the Swiss cheese through the mix. To me its the best part and I like it to be on every bite!
One last thing, if you haven't tried real nutmeg you are missing out. I love mine which Dad bought me years ago. And it lasts for ages. And I also love the little mini grater that goes with it!
Serve with green salad or something like this, grape tomatoes, green beans and avocado.
And that's it, my present to you kind readers :-) Have a happy weekend.