Smoked Salmon & Leek Macaroni Cheese

PARTNEREDPOSTPasta is at the heart of many of our favourite recipes – especially during colder and darker months when rich, warming comfort foods are the order of the day. Bertolli have a lovely recipe for macaroni cheese with prosciutto and leeks which we’ve adapted by substituting smoked salmon for the ham. This is very much inspired by a fabulous lunch at Mat Follas’ Bramble Cafe a few months ago.

Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats-9008

For most of our shallow frying, Pete and I use a combination of vegetable oil and butter. We love butter for its rich flavour but it burns easily whereas vegetable oils can be heated to a higher temperature without smoking or burning; mixing butter into oil gives us the best of both worlds. A light olive oil is a good choice, neutral in flavour and perfect for cooking.

Today it’s not unusual to have at least one if not two bottles of olive oil in the kitchen cupboard – a regular one for cooking and a richer extra virgin one for salad dressings and drizzling over carpaccio or cheese – and there is much shelf space given to olive oil in most supermarkets. But when I was a kid, it wasn’t so easy to find good quality Italian olive oil here in the UK. Bertolli is one of the brands that has been available in the UK, and respected for its quality and consistency, for as long as I can remember. Far longer than I could possibly remember, in fact – it was founded in Tuscany back in 1865!

One of the products that wasn’t available during my childhood was olive oil in spreadable form. Bertolli make an Original and Light olive oil spread, both made using good quality olive oil. The latest in the range is their Bertolli with Butter, a spreadable combination of olive oil and butter. Of course, you can use it in place of butter – in sandwiches or on jacket potatoes, and in many varied sweet and savoury recipes. Indeed, Gennaro Contaldo recently worked with Bertolli to create a range of pasta recipes that are quick and easy to make, and taste delicious.

Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats 3
I’ve heard people say that making macaroni cheese from scratch is far too time consuming or difficult but it’s actually not that complicated and it doesn’t take hugely long either. And it’s one of those dishes that’s really so much better homemade!

Previously, we’ve always made white sauce by cooking the flour and butter together first to make a roux, and then adding the milk. For a cheese sauce, cheese is simply stirred and melted in to the white sauce. Bertolli’s recipe shortcuts the white sauce by heating butter, flour and milk all at once and to our surprise, it doesn’t result in lumpy sauce – it’s just as silky smooth as the traditional way! Thanks to Bertolli for this wonderful tip; we’ll be making all our white sauce bases this way from now on.

Smoked Salmon & Leek Macaroni Cheese Recipe

Adapted from Bertolli’s recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 250 g macaroni or pasta of your choice
  • 15 g butter and olive oil spread
  • 1 small leek , sliced into thin discs
  • 100 g smoked salmon , chopped into thin strips 2-3cm long

For the cheese sauce:

  • 50 g butter and olive oil spread
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 600 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1/2 tsp English mustard powder or 1 tsp mustard
  • 175 g mature cheddar cheese , grated
  • 25 g Parmesan cheese , grated

Recipe Notes

This recipe is based on using Bertolli with butter, a butter and olive oil spread. Use any brand, or substitute for butter.

This recipe works best with a hollow pasta which the cheese sauce can easily fill. Instead of macaroni, we use penne rigate (ridged tubes cut on the angle, slightly larger in diameter than macaroni).


  • Cook pasta according to packet instructions in boiling salted water. Drain well.

  • Meanwhile melt the butter and olive oil spread and sauté leek until softened. Set aside.

  • Make cheese sauce by placing butter and olive oil spread, flour and milk in a large saucepan and bring to boil, whisking continuously.

  • Make sure your grill shelf allows for the size of the ovenproof dish you are using, then preheat the grill to medium high.

  • Add Cheddar cheese and mustard to the saucepan and stir until completely melted into the sauce.

  • Stir in the cooked pasta, leeks and smoked salmon and mix through well.

  • Pour into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan.

  • Place ovenproof dish under the grill until golden brown and bubbling.

  • Serve immediately.

If you’d like to serve a side dish with this, I’d recommend either a crisp green salad with a simple homemade vinaigrette dressing or a simple stir fry of courgettes or green beans in butter and garlic.

Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats 1

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Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats (Tall Pin)

You may also enjoy Michelle’s Pasta all Norma, Camilla’s Italian Tomato Spaghetti and Claire’s Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini with Butter & Mint Sauce.

Kavey Eats was commissioned by Bertolli to develop and publish this recipe.

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26 Comments to "Smoked Salmon & Leek Macaroni Cheese"

  1. kellie@foodtoglow

    Oh I do like the shortcut you mention. I’m sure this is going to be a keeper tip for many of us. The mac and cheese looks and sounds amazing of course. I’ve not eaten yet so I am at risk of serious keyboard droolage here!


    Ha ha Kellie!! You often make me drool over my keyboard so fair turnaround!! We had always made the sauce the traditional way but this worked just as well so this way from now on!!!

  2. Lucy

    What a great tip for the white sauce, that will save me loads of time. I like to use an olive spread in sandwiches to get the Benefits of olive oil, so I’ll have to check out the Bertolli with Butter as I haven’t tried it yet.

  3. Kavey

    Thanks Elizabeth! We made it a few times, just to check. On not to check, the recipe was spot on the fuse time but it was so tasty I had a hankering!!!

  4. Penelope

    Oh this does sound wonderful. I have family visiting soon and can only imagine just how popular this would be with everyone. I love that you’ve included checking that the dish fits under the grill – that’s categorically the thing I’d always forget!


    It’s totally the kind of thing I’ve forgotten in the past, Pen, so thought I’d give that as a quick tip! 🙂

  5. Izzie

    Salmon mac and cheese sounds like my idea of heaven! Totally agree with you that homemade is so much better! You have made me so hungry but its 10am…mac and cheese for brunch?!!

  6. Choclette

    There’s nothing quite like a good macaroni cheese – takes me straight back to comforting childhood meals, all cooked for me 🙂

  7. Snigdha (of Snig's Kitchen)

    Homemade macaroni cheese is the best. Frozen, chilled, oven warmed or microwaved – all the ready made ones are pale imitations. Thank you for this great spin on the classic. Your cheater’s white sauce is very interesting indeed. May have to get Him Indoors to make that… I don’t have strong enough wrists!


    Ha it’s not that hard honestly, but yes get him to make it for you! Only fair, you find the recipe, he cooks it! Perfect division of labour!

  8. Jemma

    Oh how comforting! You can’t beat mac ‘n’ cheese for a lovely warming autumnal dish. Love the addition of salmon and leaks too.


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