It’s boy’s night at our little abode. No, not the type of boys night where we sit around playing cards, drinking whiskey a eating nachos that are served to us by a waitress who can best be described as looking like she has just come from the beach… wearing high heels. This is the kind of boys night where is it just me and my two boys, Seba and Obi, and we hang out, watch quite a few episodes of “The Clone Wars” animated series and eat whatever the hell we want (usually not served to us by scantily clad waitresses) that is definitely not in accordance with or following any of the dietary requirements of Jennee’s gluten intolerance or paleo diet. We are sans mother and wife, and by golly we will do whatever the eff we want. We are man, hear us roar!
Yeah, you get the picture.
Boys night’s are high on the list of things that make me happy. These nights make me so happy that even my smile smiles. My smile actually texts it’s friends to tell them how fucking happy it is right now. What more could a man need? Quality time catching up on cartoons, sitting around in my knickers, eating a pile of “sometimes food” and spending time with my damn fine kids.
Today I was hell bent on cooking up some mac n cheese, but the local store was void of the macaroni my heart so desired. So, with nary a hat wearing, feather doting Yankee with the magical ability to conjure up my macaroni in sight, I thought my next best option was going to be penne. So penne it was (although with hind sight I would say there is really no substitute for the macaroni). Also, I had a heap of smoked wild boar belly in the freezer (this came into my possession via the same source of the goat I used for that goat curry I posted not so far in the past. I think I should clarify that it did not come from the actual goat, as that would make it cross bred billy goat/razor back which is going to freak me out and remain barren of any votes from me. No, this boar was merely provided by the same supplier I got my goat from. I need to end this ever-so-pointless story right now), and boar is kindred to the pig so that was going to get it’s smoky ass in there, too.
SMOKED BOAR BELLY MAC N CHEESE with penne (for 4)
400g smoked wild boar belly, bacon or speck, sliced into lardons
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 cup grated honky dory tasty or cheddar cheese, plus 1 cup extra to top
2 tablespoons of your favourite mustard (I used that cheap American ball park stuff, but Dijon would be the goods)
400g dried macaroni (yeah, I know it’s almost a full packet but that extra 100g is that little bit too much), cooked per packet instructions and refreshed
A large handful parsley, chopped
Chopped spinach, kale or frozen peas if you need to get some greenery in there
• Fry the lardons over medium heat for 5 minutes, until browned and simmering in a pool of their own rendered fat. Discard most of the rendered fat or, if you’re keen, save it in the fridge for next time you roast potatoes. Let’s get that stuff in the fridge, eh? Put the lardons aside while you get the rest ready
• To make a béchamel sauce (white sauce. Like what you use for cauliflower cheese) first melt butter in a saucepan over med-low heat. Add flour and cook out for a couple of minutes (to get rid of the raw floury taste), stirring constantly. While stirring slowly add milk until you have a smooth, sauce-like constancy. If it doesn’t end up nice and smooth, get some whisk action onto it and beat those damn lumps into submission. Add cheeses and mustard and stir to combine
• Add the lardons, pasta and parsley and combine
• Transfer to baking dish, top with extra cheese and bake in 180C oven for 30-35 minutes. You want it bubbling and golden so don’t be afraid to chuck it back in the oven for another few minutes and even turn it up a little to get the result
• A nice little leafy salad is probably a pretty good accompaniment. That and the company of your favourite kids (hopefully the fact that they’re your favourite kids alone should mean they’re yours, but if not soz… just soz)
If you have some left overs the next day feel free to slice it into squares, crumb it up and deep fry the crap out of them for tasty fried mac n cheese bites a la Paul’s Caul.