Comfort food at its best. I’ve used three different types of cheese here to add lots of flavour. A touch of Dijon mustard adds a subtle but fiery kick and the grilled breadcrumb topping adds a deliciously golden crunch to the creamy, cheesy filling underneath.
Recipe exclusive from Cook for the Soul.
Total time to make : 45 minutes
Servings : 6 - 8
600g macaroni pasta
120g butter, plus 2 tbsp 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 90g plain flour 1 litre whole milk 2 tbsp Dijon mustard 400g strong Cheddar cheese,grated 200g Gruyère cheese, grated
120g Parmesan cheese, grated
120g panko breadcrumbs Salt and freshly ground black pepper Chopped parsley, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan and grease a large ovenproof dish (mine was 33 x 23cm). Grate the cheeses and mix together in a bowl, set to one side.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than stated on the packet. Drain, then drizzle and toss with a little olive oil to keep from sticking together.
Melt the 120g butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and stir for about a minute until aromatic. Add the flour and gently combine with a balloon whisk until the mixture looks like wet sand. Cook for about 1 minute, whisking all the time, then gradually pour in the milk, whisking until you have a smooth sauce. Simmer for 5–7 minutes (keep whisking) until thick and velvety with a similar texture to condensed milk. Remove from the heat, stir through the mustard and season.
Stir through two-thirds of the grated cheeses, adding a handful at a time and stirring to mix together. Tip the drained, cooked pasta into the saucepan (or mix both in a large bowl), season with salt and pepper to taste and then pour the pasta mix into the greased baking dish.
Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the breadcrumbs, stirring until they're all coated.
Toss the breadcrumbs in with the remaining cheese and mix. Scatter this over the pasta and bake for 20–25 minutes until golden and crisp. I like to put this under a very hot grill for the last few minutes, so that the top of the macaroni has a golden, crunchy crust. Let it stand for 15 minutes before serving, scattered with parsley.
Good to know:
This can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking, or frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before baking.
Use any cheeses you love or stick to one or two types.
Store baked leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
Store baked leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Defrost overnight before re-heating.