Recipe| Cheat’s macaroni and cheese

The Telegraph’s cookery correspondent Diana Henry gives a blindingly simple macaroni cheese recipe that involves no sauce-cooking or pasta-boiling.

She says no, you really don’t need to cook the macaroni beforehand, nor painstakingly whisk your way through a white sauce. After all, if it works for lasagne, why not for macaroni?

The British foodie’s twist on macaroni and cheese sees you just mix the macaroni in with everything else and stick it in the oven – amazing!

Henry adapted it from a recipe she found in the New York Times. The original version had more than a kilo of cheddar – a little too high in calories even for her – so she had cut that back by a half.

“If you like it really cheesy, add the parmesan as well, though it isn’t very authentic,” she says.

The recipe serves four to six.

Cheat’s Mac & Cheese


500g plain cottage cheese
3 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp cayenne
generous grating of nutmeg
500g extra-mature cheddar, grated
100g parmesan (optional), grated
1 litre full-fat milk
450g dried macaroni


Butter a 1.5- to two-litre gratin dish and heat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.

In a blender, whiz the cottage cheese, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and some salt and pepper.

Tip into a large bowl. Keep back about 100g of the cheddar and add the rest to the cottage cheese mixture along with the parmesan (if using) and the milk.

Stir in the raw macaroni and pour into the dish.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take off the covering, stir and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Return the dish – uncovered – to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes.

Leave to cool for five to eight minutes before tucking in; it will be molten hot in the middle.

Serve with a big green salad dressed with a mustardy vinaigrette dressing.

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