Mac ’n’ cheese pancetta cups
Makes 12 | total time
- 50g unsalted butter, plus 1 tsp extra
- 1 large leek (about 175g), finely sliced
- 50g plain flour
- 1 tsp English mustard powder
- 500ml milk
- 150g mature cheddar cheese, grated
- 225g macaroni
- 1 tbsp oil, for greasing
- 36 rashers Taste the Difference smoked pancetta (1½ x 180g packs)
- 25g panko breadcrumbs or dried breadcrumbs
Make up to 2 days ahead, leave to cool before transferring to an airtight container. Keep chilled. To reheat, put on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 7. First make the macaroni cheese mixture. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in a frying pan, add the leek and cover with a lid. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes until softened. Remove the lid and cook for a further 3-4 minutes to get rid of any liquid.
- Meanwhile, melt 50g butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour to make a paste and cook gently, stirring, for 2 minutes, then add the mustard powder and gradually stir in the milk, a little at a time, until smooth. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring continuously until smooth and thick. Remove from the heat, add most of the cheese (reserving 25g for the topping), the cooked leeks and plenty of black pepper. Check the seasoning and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pan of boiling water for 7 minutes until al dente. Drain well and return to the pan. Add the cheesy leek sauce and mix to combine.
- Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin with oil. Line each hole with 3 rashers of pancetta to cover the base and sides, then fill with the macaroni cheese mixture. Toss the remaining cheese with the breadcrumbs and some black pepper, then sprinkle on top of the macaroni cheese mixture. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 20 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes before serving. Alternatively, if making ahead, leave to cool completely in the tin, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.
Delicious served hot but can also be served cold in a packed lunch.