Clodagh McKenna’s festive mac and cheese

Wednesday 28 December 10:45am

Clodagh McKenna is kicking off Twixmas by showing us transform Christmas leftovers with two delicious . First up, if you thought mac & cheese couldn’t get any better, then Clodagh is about to prove you wrong with her festive twist on this cheesy classic. Think pigs in blankets, stuffing and all your favourite cheese board staples baked into mac and cheese perfection!

Festive mac and cheese

Serves: 4


280g macaroni

40g butter

1 garlic clove, crushed

3 tablespoons plain flour

1 bay leaf

700ml whole milk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 

Dash Worcestershire sauce

Grating of fresh nutmeg

250g leftover cheese – this can be any kind you might have, blue cheese, cheddar, brie etc. 

200g Ham, chopped 

For the topping

4 heaped tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon parmesan, finely grated 


Leftover stuffing, crumbled


1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the macaroni according to packet instructions (usually around 8 minutes). Drain and set aside. While the pasta is make the sauce. 

2. Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the bay leaf. Heat until hot, but not boiling. 

3. Once the milk is hot, melt the butter in a separate large, heavy based saucepan and add the garlic, gently fry for 30 seconds or until aromatic and just starting to turn golden. 

4. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowing whisk in the hot milk a little at a time until it is all combined and the sauce is smooth. Bring the mixture up to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes before stirring in the cheeses, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and nutmeg and season to taste. Whisk to make sure the cheeses have all melted and combined with the sauce. Remove the bay leaf.  

5. Stir the ham into the sauce and heat through. 

6. Fold the pasta through the sauce and transfer to an ovenproof dish. 

7. Scatter over the breadcrumbs or crumbled stuffing and place the dish in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until crunchy,  golden and bubbling. 


Read More