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How to make macaroni cheese with spinach and pancrato pesto

Macaroni cheese with spinach and pesto pangrattato


FAT  39.3G (21.1G SATURATED)
SALT  1.2G


400g macaroni
Glug of olive oil for the cooked pasta
100g spinach
60g unsalted butter
60g plain flour
1.3 litres whole milk
1 tbsp dijon mustard
100g mature cheddar, grated, plus 30g for the topping
100g gruyère (or vegetarian hard cheese), grated

For the pesto pangrattato topping

40g gruyère (or vegetarian hard cheese), plus a handful extra
Handful fresh basil leaves
Handful fresh parsley leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
½ garlic clove, crushed
Juice ½ lemon
30g fresh breadcrumbs

You’ll also need…

2 litre ovenproof dish


Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then add the macaroni. Boil for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, so the pasta retains a firm bite (it will cook more in the cheese sauce). Drain, then toss with a little olive oil.
Meanwhile, put the spinach in a colander and pour over a full kettle of boiling water. Squeeze out as much water as possible.
Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the flour and stir to form a roux. Cook for 3-4 minutes until it smells biscuity. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the milk to form a lump-free white sauce. Put back on the heat and whisk until the sauce starts to thicken. Once the sauceis bubbling, swap the whisk for a wooden spoon, stir in the mustard and cheese, then cook gently for 5 minutes. Taste and season.
Put all the pesto pangrattato ingredients (except the extra grated cheese) in a food processor and whizz. Stir the drained spinach and pasta into the white sauce, then pour into the 2 litre dish. Sprinkle with the pangrattato and reserved cheese, then bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and bubbling.

delicious. tips

Add halved cherry tomatoes or sliced tomatoes on top of the macaroni before baking.

Watch the pesto macaroni cheese recipe video…

Prepare the macaroni cheese but don’t add the topping. Store them separately, covered, in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Scatter over the pangrattato topping and reserved cheese just before baking as in step 4 of the recipe.

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