Confit garlic, leek and beans mac n cheese


This luxurious macaroni cheese recipe is made even silkier by softened leeks, mellow cloves of confit garlic and creamy white beans. Serve it with a sharply dressed salad, such as a green salad with lemon vinaigrette.

First published in 2023




Confit garlic




Peel the cloves of garlic and place in a small saucepan. Cover with olive oil and cook on the lowest heat for 30 minutes, moving off the heat if it starts to simmer. The garlic cloves should be very soft and golden. Remove from the heat


Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan and add the leek, cooking until softened but not coloured – around 10 minutes

  • 1 leek, very well washed and thinly sliced

Put a pan of salted water on to boil as you make the sauce


Heat the milk in a separate saucepan, but don’t let it boil

  • 1l milk

Melt the butter in a separate saucepan and, when foaming, add the flour, whisking. Cook this mixture out for a couple of minutes, whisking constantly


Add the milk a couple of ladlefuls at a time, whisking each addition gently into the sauce before adding the next


Once all the milk has been added, allow the sauce to cook for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. This is important in order to cook out any remaining flour. Taste the sauce to ensure no floury taste remains; if it does, cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes longer


Remove the sauce from the heat and add the grated Red Leicester, Gruyère and mozzarella


Stir to melt the cheeses, then add the white pepper and stir in the cream and mustard. Taste and add salt if necessary


Preheat a grill to medium


Add the pasta to the water and cook for 6 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer it to the sauce, mixing well. Stir through the leek, confit garlic and beans and check the seasoning once more


Transfer the mac n cheese to an oven dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, then the cheeses. They won’t cover the dish completely, but will melt together as they cook


Place under the grill until browned and bubbling – around 10 minutes

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