300g dried macaroni
1.5 heaped tablespoons plain flour
500ml Daioni whole milk or semi-skimmed milk
10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3 bay leaves
4 small tomatoes or 2 medium tomatoes
100g Parmesan cheese
150g Cheddar cheese
Sriracha sauce, approximately 2 – 3 tablespoons or to taste
2 splashes Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
3 handfuls of breadcrumbs
Fresh thyme, leaves only or dried chilli flakes if you prefer a spicier kick
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius
Heat a pot over low heat and add the butter to melt. Turn the heat up to medium and add the flour. Stir well until you get a paste (i.e. the roux) then add the garlic slices. Keep stirring till the garlic turns caramelized and golden. Then whisk in the milk, adding a little at a time to ensure you get a smooth sauce. Add the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to the boil and let it simmer whisking occasionally to ensure it maintains a smooth creamy consistency.
While the sauce is cooking, bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Then add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Once the macaroni is cooked, add the macaroni to the sauce, take it off the heat and stir it well so all the macaroni is well coated. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the pot. Grate in the Parmesan and Cheddar and stir it all in. Add a couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce, and then add a tablespoon of the Sriracha sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Give the pot a good stir so everything is well mixed and
coated. Taste and add more Sriracha sauce if you prefer it more spicy. If the sauce is looking very thick, add a splash or 2 of water to loosen as it will thicken up again in the oven.
Transfer everything from the pot into a deep cast iron baking dish. Put it in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown on top.
While the mac & cheese is baking, heat the olive oil in a pan, add the breadcrumbs and fresh thyme or chilli flakes. Fry till the breadcrumbs turn golden brown. Remove from the pan and pour into a small bowl. Sprinkle some of the crispy breadcrumb mixture over the top of the mac & cheese and then serve. Place the remaining bowl of crispy breadcrumbs on the table for more sprinkling.
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