• Leila decided to give her mac ‘n cheese dish a contemporary twist, and says, “This Macdaddy Mac & Cheese version is a fresh take on a classic and incorporates modern elements while keeping traditional tastes in mind.” 

    Leila's Macdaddy Mac & Cheese


    • 200g baby Rosa tomatoes
    • 1 red onion, sliced
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
    • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 150g pancetta
    • 400g rigatone pasta
    • Mustard cheese sauce

    • 20g (2 tbsp) butter
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) cake flour
    • 500ml (2 cups) milk
    • 45ml (3 tbsp) whole-grain
    • Dijon mustard
    • 60ml (¼ cup) grated Parmesan,
    • plus extra for sprinkling
    • 60ml (¼ cup) mascarpone



    Preheat the oven to 200°C. Combine the tomatoes, onion, balsamic vinegar, thyme, olive oil and seasoning, and place on a baking tray. Bake until the tomatoes and onions have softened, about 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.


    Place the pancetta on a baking tray and grill until crisp, about 6 – 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.


    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook the pasta according to packet instructions, drain and set aside.


    For the mustard cheese sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and whisk to form a roux. Gradually add the milk to the roux, whisking continuously. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer, whisking until the mixture thickens.


    Add the mustard, Parmesan and mascarpone to the sauce and season well.


    Combine the pasta, cheese sauce, broken pieces of pancetta, roast tomatoes and onions, and mix well.


    Spoon the mixture into a baking dish and scatter with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 15 minutes.