macaroni cheese pasta bake

Macaroni cheese with a crispy top.

Saturday evenings we often had Macaroni cheese for supper when I was growing up. My Mum usually added tomatoes and onions and sometimes bacon. I now like to add a mix of breadcrumbs cheese and herbs for a crispy topping so here is my recipe for what I think is a great filling family meal.

Macaroni Cheese with a crispy top

macaroni cheese pasta bake


You will need to make the macaroni bake for 4-6 people:

400g Macaroni

1 onion sliced

1 garlic clove crushed

750ml milk

200g cheddar cheese (preferably mature)

2 tablespoon of cornflour

50g of butter

1 tsp of mustard (optional but brings out the cheese flavour)

2-3 tomatoes sliced or a good handful of Cherry tomatoes halved

2 tablespoons of fresh parsley finely chopped

2 slices of bread made into breadcrumbs

an extra garlic clove crushed (optional for a added garlic flavour to the top)


To make:

  • Cook Macaroni as per instructions
  • While it is cooking melt half of the butter and fry the onion for a few minutes until soft. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes.
  • *Add the milk, rest of the butter and the cornflour and keep whisking until thickening.
  • Remove from the heat and add the mustard and 3/4 of the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. Season with freshly ground pepper.
  • Add parsley leaving some for the topping and stir.
  • Once the macaroni is cooked, drain and mix with the cheese sauce and place in an oven proof dish.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs, remaining cheese, parsley and garlic (if using) together.
  • Pop the tomatoes on top of the bake and then scatter with the breadcrumb mix.
  • Bake when ready in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC for 20 minutes or until hot and has a nice crispy top.

*I like the all in one method for making sauces but at this stage if you prefer you can add the remaining butter, then the cornflour and cook for a minute to make into a roux (with onions in) then add the milk and keep stirring till thickening.

Nice served with steamed broccoli

Change it up a bit:

You could add to the sauce some wilted spinach leaves for a Florentine bake. Cooked bacon or ham can be added with the pasta or you can have it directly under the topping which is rather tasty. Leeks instead of onions are really tasty too.

This can be made ahead and baked when ready but add the breadcrumb mix just before baking or it will absorb the moisture and won’t go so crispy.

You may also like these family recipes  ‘Any day of the week chicken curry’ or Pasta with cream cheese and broccoli




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