• Iris Windsor

Macaroni Cheese

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

Macaroni and cheese is a favourite. I have tried so many macaroni and cheese recipes. I have tried plain mac and cheese, mac and cheese with lobster, mac and cheese with vegetables, mac and cheese with prawns...each are a wonder in their own right but each had something missing for me.

I was looking for the great old fashioned classic but i wanted it to be simple and I wanted lots of vegetables. I didn't want to be making a white sauce thickened with flour and it had to be thick and cheesy and have lots of vegetables and lots of flavour.

I have now made this recipe several times. It is thick and creamy and substantial enough to be served as a meal with a beautiful fresh tossed salad. I love it and I hope that you do too!!!

Macaroni Cheese Recipe - Dragonfly's Childcare Recipe

"Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe"

Serves: 8 Preparation time: 35 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins


  • 400 g dried macaroni or your favourite pasta

  • 40 g butter

  • 100 g spec cut into lardons or use bacon cut into strips

  • 50 g bacon cut into strips (save for the top)

  • 2 onions finely diced

  • 2 cloves garlic finely diced

  • 20 g butter

  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower

  • 100 ml dry white wine or stock powder and water

  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, leaves stripped, plus extra to serve

  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen sweet corn

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas

  • 600 ml pouring cream

  • 200 g coarsely grated vintage cheddar

  • 200 g grated gruyere

  • 100 g ricotta or Philly cream cheese

  • 200 g finely grated parmesan (divided into 2...100 g for the top)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 100 g coarse panko breadcrumbs

  • 15 g melted butter

  • Finely grated rind of one lemon


  1. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of well-salted boiling water for 6-7 minutes until al dente.

  2. Drain and place in a deep bowl.

  3. Mix the breadcrumbs and lemon rind with 1 tablespoon melted butter and remaining 100 grams parmesan in a bowl.

  4. Add diced bacon or spec and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until crisp and the fat renders.

  5. Add the garlic and onion and continue to cook till soft.

  6. Deglaze the pan with wine, (or stock) scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen all the delicious crusty bits.

  7. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until it is reduced by half, then stir in the mustard and thyme.

  8. Tip the mixture into the pasta.

  9. Add butter to pan and cook cauliflower till soft.

  10. Tip the mixture into the pasta.

  11. Add peas and corn to the mixture.

  12. Stir in the cream, gruyere, cheddar, ricotta, and half of the parmesan.

  13. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  14. Mix well to combine together and then transfer to a large baking dish.

  15. Mix the breadcrumbs and lemon rind with 1 tablespoon melted butter and remaining 100 grams parmesan in a bowl.

  16. Mix well and season to taste.

  17. Scatter over the top of the pasta with bacon pieces.

  18. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

  19. Serve hot, scattered with extra thyme and with a little finely grated lemon rind.

  20. Serve with a tossed salad.


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