Macaroni cheese

For a rich version of a great British comfort food, try Tony Tobin's recipe, studded with roast cherry tomatoes
By Tony Tobin
Macaroni cheese
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 250 g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper
  • 350 g macaroni
  • 450 g mature English cheddar cheese

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves
  • 300 ml milk
  • 25 g butter
  • 20 g flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp English mustard
  • salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


1. First make the béchamel sauce. Stud the onion half with the cloves. Place it in a pan with the milk and bring to a gentle simmer.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate, heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter gently, then slowly stir in the flour to form a paste.

3. Cook stirring for about 1 minute over moderate heat, then slowly pour in the hot milk through a sieve, stirring constantly.

4. Once all the milk has been mixed in, add in the bay leaf and mustard. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and a pinch of nutmeg and simmer for 20 minutes stirring now and then.

5. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7.

6. Place the cherry tomatoes in a 2 litre ovenproof dish. Drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper, then roast for 25 minutes until the tomatoes have softened slightly and the skins have split.

7. Remove the tomatoes and reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/gas 4.

8. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instruction until al dente. Drain the macaroni and return to the pan.

9. Gradually stir in the béchamel sauce, then the roasted tomatoes and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

10. Spoon the macaroni mixture into an ovenproof dish a little at a time, alternating it with layers of the grated cheese and finishing with a final layer of cheese.

11. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned on top. Leave to stand for a few minutes, then serve straight from the dish.

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