Macaroni Cheese with Leeks, Cheddar, Parmesan and Pesto recipe

Published Saturday, Jan 11 2014, 07:00 GMT  |  By  |  Add comment
Beat the winter blues with this hearty macaroni cheese recipe, a great mid week dinner that's easy to do and full of flavour.

It's given a dash of Italian pizzazz with the addition of slow-cooked leeks and a Pesto-infused cheesy sauce and is ideal for veggies. Or you can add fried Pancetta or bacon if you want to give it a deliciously meaty kick.

Macaroni cheese

© Sacla


  • 200g Macaroni (Conchiglie or Fusilli)
  • 100g Sacla’ Classic Basil Pesto
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large leeks (about 300g) sliced
  • 25g fresh Parmesan, grated
  • 1 handful fresh breadcrumbs (optional)
  • For the cheese sauce:
  • 30g plain flour
  • 30g butter
  • 500-600ml milk
  • 100g mature Cheddar, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F

2 In a large pan of salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain well, return to the hot pan and toss with the pesto.

3 Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the leeks for 10 minutes, until softened and sweet. Mix into the macaroni.

4 Meanwhile, tip the flour and 500ml milk into a large saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir continuously with a balloon whisk for 5 to 10 minutes, until the butter has melted and the sauce starts to bubble.

5 At this point, lower the heat right down and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, then remove from the heat and stir in most of the cheddar, reserving some for the topping. You want the sauce to be the consistency of double cream, so add a little more milk if needed.

6 Mix the sauce and pasta together (along with some fried pancetta or bacon or chopped parsley, if using) then tip into an ovenproof dish.

7 Sprinkle with the rest of the cheddar, the Parmesan and breadcrumbs, if using. Place on a baking tray (to catch any drips as it cooks), and bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

Prep Time

25-30 minutes

Cook Time

20 minutes

Nutrition Information

Serves 2

This recipe comes from the Big Book of Pesto, from Ebury Press, RRP £14.99
Check out for more easy to make pasta recipes.

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