Rob Kirby’s ultimate velvet macaroni cheese family recipe

  • serves 4-6
  • Easy

The Family Kitchen chef shares his perfect pasta dish

Rob Kirby's ultimate velvet macaroni cheese family recipe

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.”



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

For the cheese sauce

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

For the velvet topping

  • butter 50g
  • garlic cloves 2, finely chopped
  • fresh white breadcrumbs 50g
  • parmesan 50g
  • bunch of flat-leaf parsley


  • Step 1

    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.

  • Step 2

    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.

  • Step 3

    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.

  • Step 4

    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.