Macaroni cheese seems to have passed me by. It's not something I was ever served as a child as I didn't much like cheese. When I tried to served cheesy pasta to my toddlers they weren't overly keen either, so it was never embraced as a family favourite.
When I moved to Scotland in my early thirties I became aware of a reverence for 'mac and cheese' with Glasgow seemingly at the heart of the country's love affair with the dish. I laboured under the misapprehension that it was a Scottish invention until I discovered this recipe for Pongauer Kasnocken, essentially Austria's version of mac and cheese.
A little research later and it's evident that countries around the world have their own versions of the comforting combination of cheese and pasta. From the sublime Swiss Älplermagronen to the ridiculous 'Kraft dinner' conceived in the USA and which sees dried pasta and cheese powder pre-packed, industrial style and marketed as "the part of parenting that's impossible to mess up".
Despite having never warmed to mac and cheese, this recipe from Austria's official tourist portal appealed because it both involved making the pasta, but was also extremely quick. I ordered a spätzle maker to ensure I could shape my dough without too much drama.
The combination of beef stock and nutmeg added extra flavour and I chose to use both cheddar and pecorino (I had 50g leftover in the fridge). The kids were out, so it was the adults who enjoyed cheesy pasta in the form of homemade egg noodles with melted cheese, topped with crispy fried onions. Heaven, even for someone who doesn't go a bundle on mac and cheese.