Spanish Mac & Cheese with Crispy Lardons

Cooking time
Serves2 people
Spanish Mac & Cheese with Crispy Lardons

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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layout 1 comment


  • 200g chifferini pasta (or any dried pasta will also work)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 200g unsmoked lardons
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 chilli
  • 100g cheddar
  • 75g sweet salad mix
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
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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.
8. 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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absolutely delicious, little one loves it and so do the grown ups. Great family meal.