prawn mac & cheese

i think there is big debate in the food industry about changing or personalising old favourites and traditional recipes. i, however, find this completely acceptable. i mean, how else do we find inspiration and new ideas?
macaroni & cheese is something i grew up with. wether my mother made a simple version of really only macaroni and a cheese sauce straight from the pan into our plates or a baked version with strips of fatty bacon nestled between the macaroni and very cheesy cheese sauce, it was a common dish in our home. it comes as no surprise that i, too, have my own versions of this very traditional, tasty dish.
this version is a rich, saucy, meaty, cheesy heaven. you can bake it in the oven to grill the cheese it was topped with or dish it straight from the pan simply topped with some parmesan shavings. either way, it is delicious!!

300g rigatoni pasta, cooked according to packet instructions
70g butter
30g flour
2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and chopped or grated
1/2 small onion, finely chopped or grated
2tsp paprika (not smoked)
2 pinches saffron threads
100g cheddar, grated
100g ricotta
50g parmesan, grated
350ml milk
100ml cream
1/2c fish stock
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2tsp dijon mustard
1tbs worcestershire sauce
1tbs tomato puree
bunch fresh chives, chopped
bunch fresh dill, chopped
basil, leaves only
1tbs brown sugar
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp black pepper
pinch chilli flakes
500g prawns (cleaned, uncooked & shelled)

how to do it
cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente. drain and lightly oil. set aside.
bring the milk, cream & saffron to a light simmer. add the prawns and poach for about 5 minutes. remove prawns and set aside to cool. reserve the milk for the sauce.
melt the butter in a deep, oven proof skillet. add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent taking care not to burn the garlic. stir in the paprika, tomato paste & brown sugar and cook for two minutes while stirring.
stir in the fish stock and mix until thick and smooth.
slowly pour in the milk & cream mixture while stirring or lightly whisking. simmer, while stirring, until thick and creamy. stir through the worcesterchire sauce, mustard, lemon zest, cheeses & a pinch of chilli flakes.
taste now and season.
roughly chop the cooled prawns and add it to the sauce together with the pasta.
stir through the dill and chives.
top with desired amount of grated cheese. (i used about 80g)
bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes until bubbly.
garnish with shaved parmesan and fresh basil leaves.

serve with a green salad.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x