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Harissa Mac and Cheese

Harissa Mac and Cheese

Thanks to our Ambassador Jane Devonshire for this recipe.

If I fed Ben (my son) his favourite mac and cheese every day, he would be in heaven – I think it’s the whole teenage carb-loading thing. This recipe is for my standard cheese sauce, which works perfectly every time with this quantity of pasta. The addition of harissa gives it a bit of spice and a lovely warming feel for those cold nights, however I have been known to throw leeks, ham, lots of vegetables and other things that need eating up into the pasta just before it goes into the oven – it’s one of those wonderfully adaptable dishes.

Extract from Hassle Free, Gluten Free by Jane Devonshire (Bloomsbury Absolute, £22)

Photography © Mike Cooper

Serves 6




Harissa Mac and Cheese


  • 400g gluten-free pasta; I use penne or fusilli as gluten-free macaroni can be hard to find
  • 6 tablespoons cornflour
  • 800ml milk, plus a little extra for making the cornflour paste
  • 250g extra-mature Cheddar cheese, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste (check for gluten content or cross contamination) *
  • pinch of sea salt


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the pasta and parboil for 6–7 minutes; it needs to be about half-cooked. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Mix the cornflour with a little milk until it is the consistency of double cream.
  • Put the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and slowly add the cornflour paste, stirring or whisking all the time. Keep stirring/whisking for a couple of minutes – the milk will thicken quickly but you need to cook out the cornflour.
  • Remove from the heat and immediately add the Cheddar and Parmesan. Beat in until you have a smooth, thick cheese sauce. Add the harissa paste and salt and stir in, then add the partially cooked pasta, stir through, and place in a baking dish.
  • Sprinkle over a little extra Cheddar cheese and place in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden and bubbling. This is best eaten as soon as you can without the cheese burning your mouth.