“For this absolute classic, which you can prepare in advance, you could use bacon or prosciutto, just saute in a pan for a few minutes before adding to the pasta. The mascarpone makes the sauce extra creamy and indulgent. An Ainsley Harriot recipe.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking all the time. Add the bay leaf and bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for about 5 mins until smooth and thickened, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaf and add the mascarpone, mustard and cheddar. Mix until smooth, then season. Cover the surface of the sauce with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta, stir to separate and cook for 1 min less than the time suggested on the packaging. Drain thoroughly and return to the pan.
  6. Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta and add the ham and parsley. Mix thoroughly and tip into a shallow ovenproof dish.
  7. Combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan and scatter over the pasta. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 20 mins until the top is golden brown and bubbling.

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