Cheese & spinach penne with walnut crumble

A twist on macaroni cheese, with added veg and a crunchy topping of bread and nuts – make in batches and freeze

  • Prep:15 mins
    Cook:55 mins
  • Serves 8
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 656
  • fat 36g
  • saturates 17g
  • carbs 54g
  • sugars 9g
  • fibre 3g
  • protein 28g
  • salt 1.6g


  • 500g pack penne
  • 2 large leeks, sliced
  • 85g butter
  • 85g plain flour
  • 2 tsp ready-made English mustard
  • good grating nutmeg
  • 1l milk, plus a bit extra
  • 350g pack mature cheddar, grated
  • 4 slices French bread, diced
  • 85g walnut pieces
  • 400g bag spinach


Eat one, freeze one
To freeze, cover the dishes with cling film, then foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge, then bake as above until golden and piping hot.


  1. If you are eating one of the pasta bakes now, heat oven to 190C/170C fan/ gas 5. Boil the pasta with the leeks for 10 mins, then drain.

  2. Meanwhile, put the butter, flour, mustard, nutmeg and milk in a large pan with some seasoning. Gently heat, stirring all the time, until bubbling and thickened, then cook for 2 mins more, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in two-thirds of the cheese. Toss the remaining cheese with the bread and walnuts.

  3. Cook the spinach in the microwave, or pour a kettle of boiling water over it to wilt, then squeeze out the excess water. Stir into the sauce with the pasta, leeks and some seasoning. If necessary, add a little extra milk to loosen. Divide between 2 ovenproof dishes and scatter the bread mixture on top. If eating straight away, bake for 40 mins until golden, or cool to freeze.

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