This is a great weekday dinner recipe, which is relatively quick and easy. You don’t have to add the chicken if you don’t want to – in fact you don’t even have to add the bacon if you want to keep this a veggie meal. I’m not reinventing the wheel here with this one, but I found the hickory BBQ flavour works really well with the vintage cheddar and bacon.
- 400g macaroni
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 tablepoons plain flour
- 2.5 cups milk
- 2 heaped tablespoons hickory BBQ sauce
- 3 teaspoons hot sauce (I used Crystal brand)
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
- 250g vintage cheddar, grated
- 300g smokey bacon, excess fat removed
- 1 bbq/rotisserie chicken
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- extra vintage cheddar, grated, for serving
- handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil over high heat, when at rolling boil stage, add in the dried macaroni and cook for 7 minutes then drain reserving 2 tablespoons of cooking water, and coat in 1 tablespoon of light olive oil. Set aside covered.
- Cut bacon into very small pieces and fry in 2 teaspoons olive oil in a pan until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towel.
- Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan then add the flour and beat together using a wooden spoon, add the milk in stages and beat vigorously with a balloon whisk until you get a smooth, creamy sauce. Add more milk if you feel it might be a little thick. You are aiming for a sauce resembling thick pouring cream.
- Add the BBQ sauce, hot sauce, sour cream and cheddar and stir to combine. At this stage you can also add 3/4 bacon, reserving the last 1/4 to sprinkle on the top before grilling. Pour sauce all over cooked macaroni and stir to coat everything together thoroughly.
- Shred the meat from the bbq chicken (if using) and add to the pasta, stir then pour the whole lot into a baking dish. Sprinkle the top with extra cheddar, remaining bacon bits, chopped parsley and thyme.
- Place dish under a hot grill or broiler for 10 minutes or until top is golden brown, bubbling and crispy.