Crayfish macaroni cheese

The Hairy Bikers combine spicy pork and seafood in this Southern take on macaroni cheese with a lovely gratin topping
By Hairy Bikers
Crayfish macaroni cheese
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 5-6
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 100 g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 250 g dried macaroni, or other short pasta
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 50 g chorizo or French andouille, skinned and diced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 600 ml milk
  • 75 g mature cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 75 g gruyere, coarsely grated
  • 25 g dry white breadcrumbs
  • 300 g peeled and cooked crayfish tails, thawed if frozen

Tips and Suggestions

If the pasta is cooked before the sauce is ready, simply drain in a colander and toss with a little sunflower oil to stop it sticking.

You can use crawfish or crayfish - it's the same thing!


1. Rub a little butter over the inside of a roughly 1.7 litre shallow ovenproof dish to grease. Preheat the oven to 210C/190C fan/gas.

2. Half fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. As soon as the water comes to the boil, add the pasta and stir well. Return to the boil and cook for 8-10 minutes or until almost tender then drain.

3. While the pasta is prepared, put the butter in a large non-stick saucepan and melt over a low heat. As soon as the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Pour three tablespoons of the butter into a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

4. Return the pan to the heat and add the chopped onion and diced sausage. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the onion is well softened and the sausage has begun to release its fat.

5. Stir in the cayenne, paprika, nutmeg and flour until well combined with the butter. Slowly add the milk, stirring well between each addition.

6. When all the milk has been added, bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce is thick but pourable (a bit like proper custard). Add a little extra milk if the sauce seems too thick.

7. Mix the grated cheeses together and add 100g to the sauce. Stir over a low heat until melted. Season the sauce well with salt and pepper to taste.

8. Mix the rest of the cheese with the breadcrumbs and melted butter.

9. Stir the crayfish tails and drained pasta into the cheese sauce and mix well. Tip into the buttered dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumb gratin mixture.

10. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve hot with salad.

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