Spanish Mac & Cheese with Crispy Lardons
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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
An Iberian version of mac and cheese that is quick to cook and flavoured with warming smoked paprika, cumin seeds and crispy lardons.
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864 kcal
(per portion)
Ingredients you'll need
Recipe Ingredients Image
  • A 200g bag of chifferini pasta
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • A 200g pack of unsmoked lardons
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 chilli
  • A 100g chunk of cheddar
  • A 75g bag of sweet salad mix
From your kitchen
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
You'll need
  • Pan with a lid
  • Colander
  • Deep frying pan or wok
  • Small bowl
  • Ovenproof dish
Step by step this way
  • 1.

    Fill a medium pan with hot water and season well with salt. Bring to the boil and tip in the pasta. Simmer for 8 mins till tender but still with some bite. Drain well.

  • 2.

    While the pasta cooks, peel and finely chop the onion. Halve the pepper. Scoop out the white bits. Finely chop it.Warm a deep frying pan or wok for 1 min. Add the lardons. Fry and stir for 5 mins till golden and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a small bowl.

  • 3.

    Add ½ tbsp olive oil to the pan if you think it needs it (plenty of fat should've run off the lardons). Add the onion and pepper. Season. Cook over a medium heat for 5 mins, tirring now and then, till softened.

  • 4.

    Finely chop the garlic and chilli. Dice the tomatoes. Add all three to the pan with 1 tsp each smoked paprika and cumin seeds. Season with a pinch of black pepper.

  • 5.

    Return the lardons to pan and give everything a good stir. Partly cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes, till the tomatoes break down and it makes a thick, rustic sauce.

  • 6.

    Add the drained pasta to the sauce and fold together, so that each piece of pasta is coated in the sauce. Pour the mixture into a snug ovenproof dish.

  • 7.

    Heat your grill to medium high.Grate the Cheddar. Scatter over the top of the pasta. Grill for 4-5 mins till the cheese is gooey and melted. Spoon the pasta into bowls and serve with the sweet salad on the side.

  • Tip

    Up in smoke
    The smoked paprika gives this dish a subtle warmth. Try adding it to tomato sauces for pastas and pizzas, or mash into butter then use it to top jacket potatoes or steaks.

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