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Rob Kirby's ultimate velvet macaroni cheese family recipe

The Family Kitchen chef shares his perfect pasta dish

Posted: 29 October 2013
by Fiona McKim

The ultimate velvet macaroni cheese

Chef and father of four, Rob Kirby, is a regular face on BBC cooking shows from Breakfast Time to Saturday Kitchen.

Rob says: "America, eat your heart out – this mac n’ cheese rules! It’s a melting pot of pure cheese bliss. You know those recipes in your cookbooks that are most used by all the stains and the pages sticking together? This, I guarantee, will become one of them! The topping makes this a very luxe version, and if you want to VIP it up, one of London’s finest restaurants serves lobster in their opulent version."

serves 4-6

1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
250g short-cut macaroni
1 whole lobster, cooked and
cubed (optional) or 150g
pancetta, cubed and cooked (optional)

For the cheese sauce

50g butter
50g plain flour
500ml milk
200ml double cream
200g mature farmhouse Cheddar,grated
1 teaspoon English mustard
2 free-range egg yolks
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the velvet topping

50g butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50g fresh white breadcrumbs
50g Parmesan, grated
1/4 bunch of flat-leaf parsley,
roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas mark 4.

Blanch the cauliflower in a pan of boiling salted water until tender. Drain in a colander and refresh under cold running water. Leave to drain, then pat dry on kitchen paper to remove all water.

Cook the macaroni in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, drain in a colander and refresh under cold running water. Leave to drain. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the flour and stir until it forms a paste, then cook gently for 3 minutes. Slowly beat in the milk until the sauce is smooth. Cook the sauce for a further 10 minutes, stirring gently, then stir in the cream and season.

Take the sauce off the heat and fold in the grated cheese and mustard. Quickly beat in the egg yolks and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.

To make the topping, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat until it starts to froth, then add the garlic and allow to soften for 2–3 minutes, but ensure that it does not burn. Finally, add the breadcrumbs and shake the pan to cover them in the butter mixture. Take the pan off the heat and add Parmesan and parsley.

Tip the macaroni and cauliflower into an ovenproof dish. Stir through either the cooked lobster or pancetta, if using. Pour over the warm cheese sauce and finish with the breadcrumb topping. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until bubbling and golden brown on top.


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