Nigella Lawson's Unexpected Secret Ingredient For The Best Mac And Cheese

It's way faster than making the regular kind, too.
Baked Creamy White Cheddar Shells and Cheese
LauriPatterson via Getty Images
Baked Creamy White Cheddar Shells and Cheese

We’ve written before about how Nigella Lawson transforms banal baby new potatoes into a salty, tart, crunchy delight by roasting them and dousing them in apple cider vinegar.

Now, it seems she’s got a hack for mac ‘n’ cheese too ― and it massively speeds up its cooking time.

One of the more time and labour-intensive parts of making the tasty meal is forming a roux that becomes a cheese sauce. And as with Mary Berry’s cheat’s lasagne, Nigella’s found a way to skip over this step ― using evaporated milk.

How does it work?

Evaporated milk is denser and gloopier than the regular kind, meaning the thickening effect of flour in a roux isn’t needed.

The recipe also uses an egg, which also helps to bind the ingredients together without having to cook the cheese sauce separately.

“This is the shortcut version: no cheese sauce, but a gorgeously huge amount of cheese, bound with egg and evaporated milk. Yum,” Nigella says on her site.

As a result, the three-step recipe only takes about half an hour to cook ― making it the perfect midweek meal.

What do I need to make it?

For this recipe, you’ll need 250g of macaroni pasta and 250g of mature cheddar cheese, or a combination of mature cheddar and red Leicester cheese. All that matters is you have that decadent 1:1 cheese-to-pasta ratio.

Additionally, you’ll require 250ml of evaporated milk, two large eggs, a grating of fresh nutmeg for added flavour, and salt and pepper to taste.

This should feed four.

What are the steps?

First, preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C. Then, cook the macaroni pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Once cooked, drain the pasta and return it to the hot pan.

While the pasta is cooking, either combine the grated cheese, evaporated milk, eggs, and nutmeg in a food processor and blitz until well mixed, or grate the cheese and mix all the ingredients by hand.

Once the cheese sauce is ready, pour it over the cooked macaroni, stirring well to ensure the pasta is evenly coated.

Season the dish with salt and pepper to taste, then transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture into a wide and shallow 25.5 cm/10-inch-diameter dish.

Bake it in the preheated oven for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and golden brown. Then, enjoy!