Macaroni and cheese, the way I like it

Mmmmmmmmacaroni and cheese. Everyone’s favourite lazy comfort food. You have to be in your pyjamas or other “slap” good-for-nothing clothes, in front of the TV, with a big chunk of macaroni and cheese, heated exactly to speed-eating-temperature, ready to hoover every creamy cheesy morsel of it.

But nobody likes bland macaroni and cheese. Unfortunately, most mac-‘n-cheeses can be exactly that. Making a plain white sauce and covering the top with a bit of grated cheese just ain’t gonna cut it in my books. Here’s how I like mine:

  1. The ratio of macaroni to cheese sauce has to be about 1 to 2. That means you need a lot of sauce. No mac-‘n-cheese can be too saucy.
  2. You have to use a proper mature cheddar in this dish. At least 250 g of good quality mature cheddar – not for the kilojoule-concious. I also add 250 g of smooth cottage cheese to make it extra cheesy.
  3. I like to add flavour to my white sauce with Dijon mustard, paprika and nutmeg. It makes a hell of a difference.
  4. You have to use a thick layer of grated cheese on top, but don’t bake it for too long as it will get tough and will be really unpleasant to eat.
  5. Some believe that you cannot add any extras like bacon, mushrooms, sausages, etc. I say you make your own rules. No-one can tell you how you will enjoy your mac-‘n-cheese best. Add whatever you like to make your feast in front of the TV a memorable one.

This recipe is for a really tasty, saucy, cheesy, comforting macaroni and cheese. You’ll be in your sweatpants watching “Neverending Story” in no time.

Ingredients: (enough for at least 6 hungry people)

  • 150 g butter
  • 200 ml flour
  • 1 litre milk, warmed
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 250 g smooth plain cottage cheese
  • at least 250 g mature cheddar, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 500 g macaroni pasta, cooked “al dente” in salted water (rather undercooked than overcooked, because it will keep on getting softer in the oven)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a medium/large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  3. Add flour and stir untill it pulls away from the sides. If the mixture looks too runny, add a bit more flour untill you get a slightly doughy result. This should only take a minute or 2.
  4. Add the milk gradually, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon or whisk untill a smooth consistency is achieved. If the sauce is too thick, add more milk. It should be as thick as a pouring custard.
  5. Season with mustard, paprika, nutmeg, and stir in the cottage cheese. Add half of the cheddar and stir untill smooth.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. In a large bowl, mix all of the sauce with the cooked macaroni pasta. The sauce will look very abundant, but believe me, it gets sucked up by the pasta when baked in the oven.
  8. Cover with the other half of the grated cheddar, sprinkle with garlic and herb seasoning (optional) or extra paprika, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Turn on the grill of the oven, and carefully brown the top cheese layer untill slightly golden brown and bubbly – it only takes a minute or 2. Don’t go too dark, or it will get tough!
  10. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. The macaroni will now still be slightly runny, but if you like yours “set” like in the picture, let it stand for a few minutes to cool, then slice and serve. It keeps well in the fridge for quite a few days.
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  1. Dis mos hoe mac & cheese moet lyk, myne lyk nooit so nie:) Gaan die een probeer!

    1. Awesome! Dan moet jy my nou nog die resep gee vir daai butternut-bake waarvan jy my laas vertel het…

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