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Easy Macaroni Cheese with Baby Leeks

It’s Meat Free Monday again which means I have a really lovely, easy recipe to share.  This one is great for a quick kids’ tea as it really should take less than twenty minutes from chopping to serving. We really love macaroni cheese, it is lovely and warming and cheese melting under the grill really makes the house smell yummy!

Although making a roux (flour and butter based white sauce) isn’t difficult, even an expert roux-maker can have issues with lumps so I make a really easy alternative with cream, crème fraîche and cheese.  You can use half-fat versions if you prefer. I also add a touch of Dijon mustard and an egg yolk, just for flavour.

This is a really versatile sauce and can be added to any pasta dish (try adding chopped smoked or poached salmon, chopped bacon and peas or chopped left-over chicken for a non-Meat Free Monday alternative) or just make a veggie version, as I have, adding any vegetables you like.  You can also skip the pasta altogether and just use it as a sauce for pouring over cauliflower or broccoli.

I have used baby leeks this week, which are in season and make a more colourful alternative to onions.  They also have a much subtler and sweeter flavour, don’t make your eyes water and are a great source of Vitamin C as well as iron and fibre. Go for small or medium sized leeks, as the larger ones can be a bit woody.  You can remove the outer layer if you need to and give them a good wash removing and grit.

Easy Macaroni Cheese with Baby Leeks


250 g macaroni pasta
One tablespoon olive or rapeseed oil
6 or 7 baby leeks or 3 medium-sized leeks

200 ml double cream
50 g crème fraîche
75 g grated Gruyère cheese
1 free-range, organic egg yolk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

75 g grated cheddar for the topping

Salt & Pepper


Pre-heat your grill.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.  Add your macaroni or other shaped pasta to the pan, stir and cook according to the packet instructions (firmer/al dente is best)

Finely chop your leeks, add a tablespoon of olive or rapeseed oil to a frying pan and gently fry your leeks for a few minutes until they soften.

Pour the cream and crème fraîche into a pan and gently bring to the boil. Once it is very gently bubbling, add the grated Gruyère cheese and mix well. (For extra flavour you could add some extra cheddar too)

Add the Dijon mustard and mix again. Take off the heat and add your egg yolk. Season with salt and pepper and stir again keeping it off the heat.

Drain your pasta and add it to the pan of cheese sauce, tip in the cooked baby leeks. Mix well until all the pasta is coated.

Sprinkle over the cheddar cheese (or use more Gruyèreor any firm cheese) and place it under the hot grill just until the cheese starts bubbling and melting.

Serve and eat as soon as possible.

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  1. >Wow, this looks so yummie! I think this is going to be our dinner tonight. With a bowl of salad and a glass of wine is a perfect weekdays dinner.

  2. Fabulicious Food says:

    >Yay!!! So glad it went down well! Would be yummo with bacon too.

  3. >This is scrummy, I made it for my four boys and there was great disappointment that I hadn't made enough for THIRDS!!!!

  4. Fabulicious Food says:

    >Hi Lucy, thanks for visiting! I have seen your blog before, how lovely to be connected to someone all the way over in NZ! My very good friend moved to Auckland some time ago. Glad you enjoyed the post, Ren

  5. The KitchenMaid says:

    >Hi Ren, this looks fab. Really pleased to have found your blog (via the UKFBA) and look forward to reading more!

  6. Fabulicious Food says:

    >PS I guess you would use 'heavy cream' which is our double cream. or use half and half to make it less fat! No messing about with flour and butter though so its my favourite sauce to make. Tonight I added a tin of tuna and some tomato passata to make tuna fish pasta!

  7. Fabulicious Food says:

    >Hi lovely sister in America! Thank you. Yes, the oil is called Rapeseed – Grapeseed is an oil too but a different one. Remember the fields behind our old house? Every now and then they were bright yellow! This was the Rapeseed. It contains less saturated fat, vitamin E and a good one is made from just pressed seeds, no chemicals. Let me know if you find it in America, here it is known as the British alternative to olive oil! Bon Appetit!

  8. Anonymous says:

    >Yummy..will have to make this as I love leeks! It it really rapeseed oil – or grapeseed? The sauce sounds amazing! Will put this on my menu for next week =) Basia xxx

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