Mac And Cheese Recipe With Rich Beef Ragu

Mac ‘n’ cheese with rich beef ragu

  • serves 8
  • Easy

We've reinvented a classic mac 'n' cheese dish by adding a hidden layer of rich beef ragu to this recipe to make it really special and indulgent



  • beef shin 1 kg, cut into chunks
  • plain flour 2 tbsp, seasoned really well
olive oil
  • onions 2, finely chopped
  • carrots 3, grated
  • star anise 1
  • tomato purée 3 tbsp
  • beef stock 200ml
  • red wine 200ml
  • passata 200ml
  • basil a bunch, chopped


  • butter 35g
  • plain flour 35g
  • whole milk 700ml
  • English mustard powder 1 tsp
  • mature cheddar 200g, grated
  • gruyère 100g, grated
  • emmental 100g, grated
  • macaroni 250g


  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Start with the ragu. Toss the beef in the flour and shake off the excess. Heat a little oil in a heavy casserole then cook the beef chunks in small batches until they have a good colour on all sides, then scoop them out and do the next batch.

  • Step 2

    Once all the beef has browned, tip it back into the casserole and add the onion, carrot and star anise. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes, then stir in the tomato purée. Add the stock, wine and passata and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan with foil and put on a lid to create a seal. Transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours, then check the beef is done – you want it to fall apart easily. If it doesn’t, put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes to an hour. Stir in the basil.

  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, make the mac and cheese. Melt the butter in a pan then stir in the flour. Keep cooking and stirring for 3 minutes then gradually whisk in the milk to give a smooth sauce.

  • Step 4

    Add the mustard powder, cheddar, gruyère, emmental and stir until melted. Season.

  • Step 5

    Turn up the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Cook the macaroni until just al dente then rinse under cold water and drain well. Mix with the cheese sauce.

  • Step 6

    Spoon the ragu into a large baking dish. Top with the mac and cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden and bubbling. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 690
  • Fat 34.8g
  • Saturates 19.1g
  • Carbs 39.9g
  • Sugars 9.8g
  • Fibre 4.1g
  • Protein 47.5g
  • Salt 1.1g