The Hairy Bikers’ crayfish macaroni cheese combines spicy pork and seafood in this Southern take on macaroni cheese with a lovely gratin topping – from their show Mississippi Adventure. Made mainly with storecupboard ingredients, aside from the crayfish tails and chorizo, you’ll probably have most of the ingredients at home already which makes this recipe super cheap to make. This really is the ultimate comfort food – a macaroni cheese surf and turf that’s super indulgent thanks to the chorizo and the crayfish adds softness and extra depth of flavour – it’s always a hit!
- 100g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 250g dried macaroni or other short pasta shapes
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 50g chorizo sausage, skinned and diced
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 50g plain flour
- 600ml milk
- 75g mature Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
- 75g Gruyere, coarsely grated
- 25g dry white breadcrumbs
- 300g peeled and cooked crayfish tails, thawed if frozen
Rub a little butter over the inside of a roughly 1.7litre shallow ovenproof dish to grease. Preheat the oven to 210°C/410°F/Gas Mark 6 1/2.
Half fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. As soon as the water comes to the boil, add the pasta and stir well. Return to the boil and cook for 8-10 minutes or until almost tender then drain.
While the pasta is prepared, put the butter in a large non-stick saucepan and melt over a low heat. As soon as the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Pour three tablespoons of the butter into a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
Return the pan to the heat and add the chopped onion and diced sausage. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the onion is well softened and the sausage has begun to release its fat.
Stir in the cayenne, paprika, nutmeg and flour until well combined with the butter.
Slowly add the milk, stirring well between each addition.
When all the milk has been added, bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce is thick but pourable (a bit like proper custard). Add a little extra milk if the sauce seems too thick.
Mix the grated cheeses together and add 100g to the sauce. Stir over a low heat until melted. Season the sauce well with salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the rest of the cheese with the breadcrumbs and melted butter.
Stir the crayfish tails and drained pasta into the cheese sauce and mix well. Tip into the buttered dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumb gratin mixture.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve hot with salad.
Top tip for making Hairy Bikers’ crayfish macaroni cheese
If the pasta is cooked before the sauce is ready, simply drain in a colander and toss with a little sunflower oil to stop it sticking