Recipe: Mac and 3 Cheese

This comfort-food classic uses a mix of three cheeses — cheddar, gruyère and parmesan.

Extract from Cook for the Soul by Lucy Lord

Comfort food at its best. I’ve used three different types of cheese here to add lots of flavour. A touch of Dijon mustard adds a subtle but fiery kick and the grilled breadcrumb topping adds a deliciously golden crunch to the creamy, cheesy filling underneath.


• This can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking, or frozen for up to three months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before baking.
• Use any cheeses you love or stick to one or two types.
• Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Serves 6 – 8
Time to make: 45 mins


600g elbow macaroni pasta
120g butter, plus 2 tbsp
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
90g plain flour
1 litre whole milk
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
400g strong cheddar cheese, grated
200g gruyère cheese, grated
120g parmesan cheese, grated
120g panko breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley, to garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan and grease a large ovenproof dish (mine was 33 x 23cm).

2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than stated on the packet. Drain, then drizzle and toss with a little olive oil to keep from sticking together.

3. Melt the 120g butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and stir for about a minute until aromatic. Add the flour and gently combine with a balloon whisk until the mixture looks like wet sand. Cook for about 1 minute, whisking all the time, then gradually pour in the milk, whisking until you have a smooth sauce. Simmer for 5–7 minutes (keep whisking) until thick and velvety, similar to condensed milk. Remove from the heat, stir through the mustard and season.

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4. Stir through two-thirds of the grated cheeses, adding a handful at a time and stirring to mix together. Tip the drained, cooked pasta into the saucepan (or mix both in a large bowl), season with salt and pepper to taste and then pour the pasta mix into the greased baking dish.

5. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the breadcrumbs, stirring to coat. Cook for a couple of minutes until golden and crisp.

6. Scatter the remaining cheese over the pasta mix, followed by the breadcrumbs. Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden and crisp. I like to put this under a very hot grill for the last few minutes, so that the top of the macaroni has a golden, crunchy crust. Let it stand for 15 minutes before serving, scattered with parsley.

Extracted from Cook for the Soul by Lucy Lord (HarperCollins, RRP $37.99). Photography by Martin Poole.

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