All diets go out of the window with this recipe, perfect for when you’re feeling in need of a hug, when the weather’s miserable or when you fancy something naughty.
I’ve chosen Jarlsberg because of its sweet and nutty flavour, it works really well with the smoked ham and the thick cream sauce. The cheese is one of Norway’s most famous edible exports and the secret to this hole-ridden cheese is classified information. In fact, only a handful of Norwegians know the secret recipe and like members of their government, they’re not allowed to travel together (yes, really).
Makes 4 decent portions – this is a rich dish, so a little goes a very long way.
Decadent Mac & Cheese
80g unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
75g plain flour
500ml double cream
220g dried pasta (I used Penne)
50g cubed ham, preferably smoked
100g Jarlsberg, sliced
50g Jarlsberg, sliced for crunchy topping
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add cream and boil. Reduce the heat and cook until thick which should take about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and ensure it melts, be patient, it will.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and transfer the pasta back to the pan. Add the white sauce, ham, making sure that everything’s covered. Remove and put in a greased ovenproof dish.
Sprinkle the Jarlsberg on top of the dish and transfer to a hot grill, taking care not to burn.
Mac and Cheese was served between two slices of sourdough, a recipe created by celebrity chef Ben Bayly and recreated by the marvellous Signe Johansen at a Jarlsberg event at the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cookery School. I didn’t get her recipe but I know she said she’d used leeks and lots and lots of cheese. I love smoked ham so I just had to add that to my mix.
It’s all part of a campaign being run by Jarlsberg to get cheese fans to submit their unique sandwich, with one winning a ‘SandWish’ beach holiday of their choice. Nine of the best will be made by Ben and posted online.
Mr Bayley kickstarted it with three Sandwishes: The Gazpacho, the Mac and Cheese and the Wedding Cake. Create your ultimate sandwich heaven, including Jarlsberg and tweet it, using the hashtag #MakeaSandWish. Share it on Facebook and join the others who have posted their ultimate SandWish on the Jarlsberg website for a chance to win a beach holiday of your dreams.