Macaroni cheese with leeks


Last week we were enthused about well-dressed raw salad veg. This week it’s comfort eating, but starring a vegetable, of course – organic leeks.  If you still have wild garlic in your locale, it goes beautifully in place of the garlic cloves. Wilt a good handful of leaves (washed and chopped) into the leek mixture as it finishes cooking at step 1.  You can also increase the veg quotient by adding chopped chard or spinach to the cooking leeks.

This particular recipe is heavy on the butter and flour for the rich cheesy white sauce. You can reduce the quantity slightly if you wish.

Serve the leeky mac ‘n’ cheese with steamed greens or a seasonal salad of lettuce and radishes.


  • 2 medium leeks, chopped
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g macaroni, dried
  • 70g butter
  • 70g plain flour
  • 900ml whole milk
  • 1 or 2 tsp mustard, to taste
  • 150g strong cheddar cheese, grated, for the sauce (or more to taste)
  • 50g strong cheddar cheese, grated, for the topping
  • Fine breadcrumbs (optional)
  • Black pepper and salt


  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the leeks and cook gently until soft. Halfway through, add the crushed garlic. Set aside when done.
  2. Boil water on the hob and cook the macaroni until nearly al dente.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C / fan 180C / Gas 6.
  4. While the macaroni is cooking, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a pan. Stir in the flour gradually to blend it. Add the milk gradually, stirring vigorously to avoid lumps. Add the mustard. Keep stirring until the white sauce is thickening well.
  5. Add the grated cheese and stir until it has melted into the sauce. Taste and season with black pepper and perhaps some salt (the cheese might be salty enough).
  6. In a large pan, combine the cooked leeks, cheese sauce and cooked pasta. Mix it well so the leeks are evenly distributed.
  7. Tip the mixture into an ovenproof casserole dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top and sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese. Bake for 30 mins or so – the top should be golden brown.