The ultimate makeover: Macaroni cheese

The ultimate makeover: Macaroni cheese

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(20 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 35 mins


Serves 4
A lighter version of this favourite comfort food dish, that doesn't compromise on flavour

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian


  • kcal503
  • fat19g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs62g
  • sugars14g
  • fibre3g
  • protein26g
  • salt1.15g
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  • 550ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 25g cornflour
  • 1 heaped tsp English mustard powder
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • generous pinch crushed dried chillies



    Part of the capsicum family, chillies come in scores of varieties and colours (from green…

  • 140g extra mature cheddar, such as Davidstow or Denhay
  • 25g parmesan



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • 25g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 450g/1lb mix of tomatoes, such as cherry and vine tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 1 bunch spring onions, ends trimmed
    Spring onions

    Spring onion

    sp-ring un-yun

    Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…

  • 200g macaroni
  • 150ml buttermilk
    Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



    There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…


  1. Mix 3 tbsp of milk with the cornflour and mustard, set aside. Heat the rest of the milk with the garlic until just coming to boil. Remove from the heat, sprinkle in the crushed chillies and leave to infuse.

  2. Get everything else ready. Coarsely grate both cheeses, keeping them separate. Mix a handful of the cheddar into the breadcrumbs with a grinding of pepper. Thickly slice the medium tomatoes and halve the cherry. Finely slice the spring onions. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

  3. Bring a pan of water up to the boil, tip in the macaroni, give it a stir so it doesn’t stick, then cook for 6 mins, stirring occasionally. Stir in the spring onions and cook for another 2 mins. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Stir the cornflour mix into the warm milk. Return the pan to the heat, then bring to the boil, stirring, until thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, most of the remaining cheddar and some pepper to taste. Stir in the buttermilk.

  4. Tip the macaroni into a colander, drain, then hold under a very hot tap to keep it all separate. Drain well, then stir into the sauce. Pour into an ovenproof dish, about 30 x 20 x 5.5cm deep. Lay the tomatoes over the top then scatter over the cheesy breadcrumbs, the rest of the cheese and a grating of pepper. Bake for about 15 mins until starting to bubble around the edges. Grill for about 5 mins until the top is crisp and well browned. Let sit for a few mins to settle before serving.

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Comments, questions and tips

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2nd Mar, 2012
The whole family (including young children) enjoyed this, so I will be making it again
15th Oct, 2011
Made this a couple of nights ago and it was absolutely vile. There was too much sauce and not enough flavour. In 30 years of cooking I have never thrown out a meal as inedible-until now!
16th Aug, 2011
21st Jul, 2011
Was very skeptical about a recipe for macaroni cheese that didn't involve making a proper butter/flour roux but this has converted me. The mustard, garlic and chilli-infused milk packed a real punch and the tomato and breadcrumb topping also added some real interest in terms of both flavour and texture. Really rather good!
24th May, 2011
Lovely flavour but a lot more work than a normal one!


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