Culinary Journeys

Chef Tom Aikens: The perfect mac and cheese in under two minutes

Published 31st August 2015
Hong Kong (CNN) — When it comes to comfort food, mac and cheese is right up there with the best of them.
"I think pasta has always been in people's lives and generally, everyone's favorite would be either be a spaghetti Bolognese or a macaroni and cheese," says chef Tom Aikens, the youngest British chef to ever win two Michelin stars.
"There are so many variations of mac and cheese you can have -- mustard or no mustard, different toppings you can put on. But I don't like to deviate too far from the original because once you start adding too much, you take away the plainness of a mac and cheese in white sauce," says Aikens. "I like to keep it as simple and true as possible."
During a recent visit to his Hong Kong restaurant The Pawn, Aikens shared his own recipe for mac and cheese with CNN. With just a few simple gourmet twists, it instantly revitalizes the family classic.
Full recipe below. To see Aikens whip up the dish himself, check out the video above.

Chef Tom Aikens' mac and cheese recipe

Serving portions
Starter size: 200 milliliters sauce + 150 grams cooked pasta + 20 grams mixed cheese
Main size: 300 milliliters sauce + 200 grams cooked pasta + 30 grams mixed cheese
Sauce ingredients
45 grams butter
55 grams flour
650 grams hot milk
1 gram black pepper
8 grams sea salt
25 grams Cheddar cheese
25 grams Parmesan cheese
25 grams Gruyere cheese
20 grams Dijon mustard
2 cloves, 2 bay leaves, sprigs of thyme (5 grams), 1 gram grated nutmeg
Set aside:
30 grams grated Gruyere cheese
30 grams grated Cheddar cheese
30 grams grated Parmesan cheese
Step 1: Melt the butter in a pan on low heat then add the flour. Cook for five minutes, stirring regularly. While this is cooking, place the milk into a pan and bring to a boil.
Step 2: Slowly add the milk to the flour-and-butter mix while constantly stirring.
Step 3: While continuing to stir, add the salt and pepper and bring to a slow simmer for five minutes at a low temperature. Then add the mustard and cheese.
Step 4: Turn the heat off and pour the mixture through a fine sieve and into a tray to cool, covering with cling film.
Step 5: When ready to serve, re-warm the sauce on the stove then add the blanched pasta.
Step 6: Place in serving dish and sprinkle the mix of cheese on the top. Bake in the oven until hot then finish under the grill to glaze.