As a young girl back in South Africa, my mom used to make mac-and-cheese.  She used to add vienna sausages and sliced tomato and I distinctly remember eating it with a good squeeze of tomato sauce.

Nowadays there is not a chance in hell that you will find me eating a vienna sausage (if I don’t know what’s in it, I ain´t eating it!)  but the addition of small bits of meat is still appealing to me.  Sometimes I don’t even add the bacon, it is the tomato that I am after.  I don’t know why more people don’t add tomato to their mac-and-cheese?  The acidity of the tomatoes works wonderfully against the richness of the cheese sauce!

I make two variations of this dish.  Sometimes I would leave out the crumb all together and just finish it off with extra cheese on top with a layer of tomatoes with a little oregano, it is still delicious!  It is also a lovely dish to make for one person.  I usually get about 4-6 portions out of this dish, once cooled I simply wrap it up and place it in the deepfreeze for another day.  Add a salad and you have yourself a perfect meal for one.

Bon appetite!

You’ll need

  • 500g x uncooked pasta (I used Penne)
  • ½ cup (115g) x butter
  • ½ cup x flour
  • 140g x bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 2 x tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 200g x sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp x Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp x oregano, dried
  • 1 Lt x milk, full cream
  • 30g x Panko crumbs
  • 40g x Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chives, finely chopped (optional)
  • Olive oil


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Boil the water, add a little salt and cook the pasta until al dente. Pour through a strainer and rinse with cold water and set aside. (I find that rinsing with cold water stops the pasta from sticking together)
  3. Meanwhile in a large saucepan on medium heat, add 1 Tbsp of oil and fry the bacon until just crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  4. Melt the butter in the same saucepan and then add the flour.
  5. Whisk together until smooth and then slowly add the milk, stirring to combine. Cook and stir often until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat.
  6. Add mustard and shredded cheddar and stir until melted, season with salt and pepper and then gently fold in the cooked al dente pasta.
  7. Smear a little butter in an ovenproof dish. (21 x 29cm)
  8. Scoop half of the pasta mix into the bottom and flatten with the back of a spoon.
  9. Layer with the cooked bacon (if using), slices of tomato and oregano.
  10. Scoop the rest of the pasta mix on top and again flatten with the back of a spoon.
  11. In a small bowl, mix together the crumbs and parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly over the top.
  12. Drizzle with a little olive oil or a few dots of butter and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the crumb is golden brown.
  13. Let it stand for at least 10 minutes.
  14. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve.

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