I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for pork crackling: one crunch takes me right back to sitting on the steps of the cricket pavilion on endless summer evenings, bottle of Coke in one hand and bag of ‘pork scratchings’ in the other. Of course, things have moved on a tad since then: apparently The Snaffling Pig Co’s unique tasting crackling is double cooked to produce a softer product that retains its bite without the teeth-breaking qualities of traditional scratching. They use the finest ingredients and add some pretty bold flavours too. This week I’m playing with The Snaffling Pig Co’s new Crackling Crumb and as my boys would happily live on mac and cheese, I created this extra special bacon mac and cheese with a herby crunch topping just for them. This version contains delicious, smoky bacon pieces, plus mozzarella for extra gooeyness, and the crunchy, herby, crumb topping gives that all important texture.
Extra cheesy bacon mac and cheese with a herby crunch topping
You will need:
6 rashers smoked, streaky bacon
300g dried macaroni
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp plain flour
100g mature cheddar, grated
1 ball fresh mozzarella, cubed
Fresh herbs (I used thyme, chives and basil from the garden)
1 pot The Snaffling Pig Co Crackling Crumb
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4
Snip the bacon into strips and fry in a little oil until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
Pop the macaroni into a large saucepan of boiling, salted water and cook according to the packet instructions until just tender.
Meanwhile, make a béchamel sauce: gently melt the butter in a saucepan, then, with a wooden spoon, mix in the flour. Continue to stir and cook the flour until the mixture is pale and bubbling, then swap to a whisk and pour in the milk. Whisk constantly (you might need to turn the heat up a bit) until the sauce thickens, then turn off the heat and stir in 75g of the cheddar, and the cubed mozzarella.
Stir the cheese sauce into the drained pasta and tip into an ovenproof dish. Finish with the remaining cheddar, as well as the chopped fresh herbs and a generous sprinkling of The Snaffling Pig Co. Crackling Crumb. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and bubbling.
A crunchy giveaway
Don’t forget I’ve got £65 worth of The Snaffling Pig Co goodies to give away to one lucky reader – just check back to Monday’s the crunchy brunchy breakfast burger recipe for all the details and leave a comment to enter.