Classic Mac and Cheese bake is ultimate comfort food for a cold night. Since it’s loaded with calories and can’t really be categorised as healthy food, I save this recipe only for weekend indulgence and special occasions.

Some super easy recipes are the most messed up for some weird reason and Mac and Cheese is one of them. Usually it’s done so bad that it completely kills all the joy of eating it. Either it’s too bland, the sauce is too gluggy or it’s overcooked.

I add dried herbs and tomato sauce to make my sauce more flavourful. And keep the consistency pretty thin and silky smooth by adding some water that I save from boiling the pasta. Thinner sauce makes the best juicy Mac and Cheese bake because after going into the oven, it thickens up anyways. Starting with a thick sauce would make a cakey dish. Add a kick of heat from red chilli flakes and the dish will taste simply divine.

Feel free to use any other small shaped pastas. Meatballs give the entire dish the feel of a complete meal and add instant oomph to otherwise plain dish. Serve it with some juicy green salad to lighten up the meal.

Makes a hearty weekend dinner and is perfect for picnics and pot lucks. Can be frozen and reheated too.


For Spicy Meatballs:

1/2 kg chicken mince
1 slice white bread
1 egg
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin powder
salt to taste
Oil for shallow frying

For Mac and Cheese Bake:

1 pack macaroni, 500 g
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons plain flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
2 tablespoon tomato sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes

This Is What You Do:

Soak bread slice in milk or water, squeeze out the liquid. Mix all the ingredients of meatballs (except oil) in big bowl. Also add the bread slice. Mix thoroughly.

Heat oil in a frying pan for shallow frying on medium low heat. Wet your hands and divide the chicken mince into 12 small meatballs. Fry till light golden on outside. Remove from oil and set aside.

Preheat oven at 175 degrees C.

Meanwhile get the macaroni ready. Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions. Save 1 cup of the water in which you boiled macaroni. I always add a little water from my pasta to the white sauce for a silkier sauce.

In a large saucepan melt butter. Add flour, salt, pepper and dried herbs. Using a whisk stir until well blended.

Remove the pan from heat. Pour milk gradually; stirring constantly. Pour in the water we saved from macaroni.

Return to heat. Cook till the sauce thickens but is still of pourable consistency.

Add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Add macaroni to the sauce pan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.

If your pan is oven safe, use the same pan otherwise transfer the macaroni and cheese to a casserole dish.

Stir in tomato sauce, top with meatballs and the remaining cheese. Sprinkle read chilli flakes all over it. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Serves 4

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