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Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Richard Jones’ mac and cheese recipe

A family favourite, with a tasty sage and breadcrumb topping.

“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t adore this – indulgent love on a plate,” write Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Richard Jones in their new book, Love. Food. Family.

If you’ve got a lot of mouths to feed at dinner time, you can’t go wrong with this hearty mac and cheese.

Mac and Cheese with Crunchy Sage Breadcrumb Topping

Ingredients :

(Serves 8)

  • 150g salted butter

  • 5 garlic cloves, finely sliced

  • 6tbsp plain flour

  • 11⁄2tbsp English mustard powder

  • 1tsp smoked paprika

  • 6 bay leaves

  • 2L semi-skimmed milk

  • 600g dried macaroni

  • 300g Cheddar cheese, grated

  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated

  • 200g panko breadcrumbs

  • 15 sage leaves

  • 150g ball of mozzarella

  • Olive oil, for drizzling

  • Salt and black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (425°F), Gas Mark 7. Put the butter and garlic in a large saucepan and melt over a medium heat, then add the flour and stir until incorporated. Add the mustard powder, paprika and bay leaves, reduce the heat and cook, stirring continuously, for five minutes.

2. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking as you go to avoid lumps. Bring the sauce to the boil, then leave it over a low heat to simmer, making sure you stir it often.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to a rapid boil over a high heat. Add the pasta and cook for six minutes.

4. Remove the bay leaves from the sauce, then drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Remove from the heat, give it a good stir and add two-thirds of the grated cheeses. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Tip the mixture into a 30 × 20cm baking dish, scatter over the breadcrumbs and place the sage leaves on top. Scatter over the remaining grated cheese and tear the mozzarella on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy on top.

Love. Food. Family: Recipes From The Kitchen Disco by Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Richard Jones is published by Hamlyn, priced £20. Food photography by Issy Croker


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