John and Lisa's Weekend Kitchen

Mac & Cheese Bolognese

Macaroni cheese or bolognese? That's a tough call. But here we combine the best of both so you don't have to make the decision. Full of flavour and ooozy cheese this divine dish will feed a hungry family.

Serves 4-6Prep: 25 minutesCook: 45 minutes


Bolognese sauce (or use leftovers):2tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil1 onion, finely chopped1 clove garlic, crushed1 tsp dried oregano1 tsp dried thyme1 tsp dried marjoram500g lean minced beef2 tbsp tomato puree1 tsp marmite1 large glass red wine400g tin chopped tomatoes1 dsp caster sugarSalt and pepper

Mac & Cheese

300g macaroni50g butter50g plain flour500ml cold milk1 tsp mustard powder½ chicken stock cube300g grated cheese (any leftover cheese e.g. Cheddar, Parmesan, stilton)A good splash of Worcester sauce65g breadcrumbs


  • Bolognese sauce: Pour oil in a large heavy based pan and warm on a low to medium heat.

  • Add onions and cook slowly until they really start to soften - the slower you cook the onions the sweeter and more flavour they will have.

  • Add garlic, oregano, thyme and marjoram, then turn up the heat and add the mince breaking the mince up and cooking until it is brown.

  • Stir in the tomato puree and the marmite and add the wine, and bubble away for a few minutes. Then add your tomatoes and turn the heat to low and let the sauce cook for at least 30 minutes.

  • Taste the sauce, and add sugar and salt and pepper. The longer and slower you let it cook, the better it tastes and also it tastes even better the next day.

  • Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4.

  • Mac & cheese: Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the macaroni and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender. Drain the liquid.

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour beating with a wooden spoon to form a roux. Cook this out for a good minute or so until the roux starts to smell like a biscuit.

  • Add the milk, little by little, stirring all the time until the sauce is thickened and smooth.

  • Add the mustard powder, stock cube, salt and pepper, most of the cheese (reserving a little for sprinkling) and a splash of Worcester sauce.

  • Combine the sauce with the macaroni. Spoon the bolognese into an ovenproof dish and top with the mac and cheese.

  • Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and the reserved cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes until the top is golden.


If using leftover Bolognese sauce add a little extra sauce to prevent it drying out.

If the cheese sauce becomes lumpy use a stick blender to remove the lumps.

John and Lisa's Weekend Kitchen