Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Macaroni cheese with a difference

I always remember this as the family "Macaroni cheese" though I may have misremembered what we used to call it when I was growing up - either way it's perfect for using up leftover pasta and those bits of veg lurking in the fridge that are not enough for cooking with. Of course you don't have to use leftover pasta - you can also cook it specially for the dish, just make it while you chop the veg and use it while hot.

For 4 people (or 2-3 people with a larger appetites) this is what I used but just adjust to your taste/what you have lurking:
  •  About 400 grams pasta (that's about 250 grams "raw" pasta)
  • 125 grams diced ham or cooked bacon
  • About 250 grams grated Cheese - this can be cheddar or something else that melts nicely. I used mature Gouda as that's what I had in the house
  • 2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
  • 2 medium carrots - diced, 0.75 - 1 cm/1/8 - 1/4 inch
  • 2 tomatoes - diced, about 1 - 2 cm/1/2 - 3/4 inch
  • 1/3 cucumber - diced, about 1 - 2 cm/1/2 - 3/4 inch (I do this by leaving the cucumber I need on the whole cucumber and cutting down the length in a cross hatch and then "slicing" the bits off)
  • 2 spring onions sliced thinly
  • You can also use mushrooms cut into small bits, onions, courgette aubergine, etc. just don't use tinned tomatoes.
You will need a deep oven proof dish for this - I always use the dish for cheese fondue as it's oven proof, deep and large.

 How to make it:

1.  Mentally divide the pasta into 5 use 1/5 to make a layer of pasta in the oven dish.
2.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the ham over the pasta followed by the 1/3 of each of the different kinds of veg you are using.
 3.  Sprinkle 1/5 of the cheese over the top.
4.  Make another 2 layers like this till you have run out of ham/veg.
5.  Spread the last 2/5 of the pasta over the top of the dish.
6.  Cover with the last of the cheese.
7.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top.
 8.  Bake in the oven at 200 C / 390 F for about 35 - 45 minutes.



  1. You had me at ham, bacon and cheese! What really amusing is I had a craving for the mac and cheese yesterday! I'm so going to try this!

    1. Hehe funny how that combo works so well :) and yes really cucumber - it isn't the same without!