Mac + Cheese Jaffle
Carb-ageddon has finally arrived! The cheeses here are just a suggestion, but you can try your own combinations.
Prep time 40 minutes (plus standing)
Toasting method Jaffle maker
8 slices white sandwich loaf
½ brown onion
600ml whole milk
25g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for spreading on the bread
25g plain flour
150g gruyère, grated
150g young fontina, grated
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
freshly grated nutmeg
250g small elbow macaroni or mini tubes
180g comté, grated
Place the onion, clove and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Bring back to the boil and strain the hot milk into a jug.
Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat. (I like to use a cast-iron pan, but any pan will do.) Add the flour and cook, stirring with a heat-resistant spatula, for 3 minutes. Slowly add the strained milk in four stages, whisking the mixture to a smooth paste after every addition. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly with the spatula to stop the mixture from sticking to the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the gruyère and fontina and stir well to incorporate. Mix in the chives, vinegar and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside in a warm place.
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the macaroni. Cook following the packet instructions or until al dente, then drain.
Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir it in well. Leave the mixture to cool – if it gets too thick, you can add a splash of warm milk, but remember it will loosen once reheated.
Preheat a jaffle maker. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
Assemble your four sandwiches directly in the jaffle maker (two at a time if that is the size of your machine). Place four slices of bread, butter side down, in the jaffle maker and spoon 2-3 heaped tablespoons of macaroni cheese in the centre of the slices. Top with a quarter of the grated comté. Close the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread, buttered side up. Finish all four sandwiches and then cook them in the jaffle maker until they are golden brown and sealed.
Pro tips I tried this with many different breads and have come to the conclusion that only supermarket white sandwich will do for this one. Load it up with cheese for that extra gooey centre. This is a great use of left-over pasta.
Extracted from Chefs Eat Toasties Too: A pro’s guide to reinventing your sandwich game by Darren Purchese (Hardie Grant, approx €23). Photography by Brendon Homan.