Macaroni cheese has become one of those very British dishes that just about everyone has their own take on. My favourite recipe for it contains courgettes and pancetta (featured on my other blog here). However, I do always look to incorporate different vegetables or twists so I don’t get bored. This version uses the seasonal cauliflower and leek.
This recipe serves 3 with a bit of help from a side salad – perhaps also using seasonal ingredients (rocket, watercress and radishes during the Spring) if you’re feeling up to it, else some designer leaves from the supermarket with a drizzle of dressing is perfectly fine too.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
- 180g macaroni
- ½ cauliflower head
- 2 leeks
- 200g cubed pancetta
- 350g pot of pre-made cheese sauce (I use Sainsbury’s ‘three cheese sauce’) – there is no shame in a cheat ingredient!
- 2 tsps mustard
- 1 large handful grated cheddar
- A couple of twists of pepper
- Put the macaroni in a large saucepan. Boil some water in the kettle and pour over. Leave to cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes.
- Chop up the cauliflower into fork-sized florets. It doesn’t matter is some are slightly larger than this at the moment as they will break up a bit later. Wash and trim the leeks, then cut them into 1-inch pieces.
- Tip all the pancetta into a small frying pan and cook over a medium heat. It does not need any oil as the pancetta will cook in its own delicious fat. It will take about 5 – 7 minutes to become golden. Drain away the fat, reserving the golden bacon bits.
- Then before you forgot, turn the oven on to pre-heat at 200ºC.
- 5 minutes before the macaroni has finished cooking, add the cauliflower and leeks into the pasta pot.
- When the 15 minutes is up, drain the pasta and veg and return to the saucepan. Add the pancetta, cheese sauce, mustard and pepper and stir everything together.
- Transfer to a medium-sized oven-proof dish and top with the grated cheddar. Then pop in the oven and leave to cook for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top.