Pesto macaroni cheese

Spinach and basil pesto macaroni cheese [Amuse Your Bouche]

Welcome to the new and improved Amuse Your Bouche! What do you think of the new design? There are still one or two little glitches that I’m trying to sort out but overall I like it a lot. You can now access different categories of recipe with just one click in the navigation bar above – my favourite is the main meals section. Nom!

Anyway. This is basically green macaroni cheese, but I thought ‘pesto macaroni cheese’ sounded slightly less weird. Technically though it’s not actually pesto, it’s just a mixture of spinach, basil and parsley. I love macaroni cheese like it was my own child, but occasionally I fancy something a bit fresher tasting, rather than the usual cheese overload. This version is the best of both worlds – still plenty of cheesy sauce, but the greenery helps to lighten it up and adds huge flavour.

Spinach and basil pesto macaroni cheese [Amuse Your Bouche]

Now I know it’s a little early to be talking about Hallowe’en, but I’ve been seeing some awesome Hallowe’en recipes on blogs lately (Chocolate and Carrots has posted a few adorable Hallowe’en recipes so far this year) and it’s planted the idea in my head that perhaps this could be a good thing to cook at Hallowe’en, since it’s green and all – or is that me clutching at straws? I actually hate Hallowe’en. It might just be me being a scrooge (does the term ‘scrooge’ apply at Hallowe’en?) but I don’t see why we should be forced to give sweets to demanding children who have done nothing to earn them. Luckily, it’s not as big an event here in the UK as it seems to be in the US, so most years we get through the night without too many trick-or-treaters.

While we’re on the subject, does anyone have any really good, low-effort Hallowe’en costume ideas? I’m going to a party this year (rather than my usual game of ‘hiding at home with the lights off so it looks like no-one’s in’) and I’m just as scroogey about fancy dress as I am about trick-or-treaters. I’d like something that isn’t lame, but also costs me no money and requires next to no effort – I think I might be asking too much, but I’ll ask nonetheless.

Spinach and basil pesto macaroni cheese [Amuse Your Bouche]

Are any of you as miserable about Hallowe’en as I am? Surely I can’t be the only boring one. I’m sure some of you go all out (I’ve heard of people actually decorating their whole house in the same way you would at Christmas, which just seems ludicrous to me) and can think of far more Hallowe’eny foods to cook in the next few weeks, but I think I’ll stick with my green macaroni cheese and call it a day.

Pesto macaroni cheese
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Main meals
Yield: 3
  • 300g pasta
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2tbsp fresh basil
  • 3tbsp fresh parsley
  • 40g fresh spinach
  1. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, and add the flour. Mix well to form a paste, and cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Then add the milk around 50-100ml at a time, stirring well to form a smooth sauce each time before adding more. Season with salt, black pepper and a generous pinch of nutmeg. Add the grated cheese, and cook for a couple more minutes until it has melted.
  3. Place the spinach, basil and parsley in a food processor, and blitz until well chopped. Add this to the white sauce along with the cooked and drained pasta. Serve immediately.

Spinach and basil pesto macaroni cheese [Amuse Your Bouche]


  1. says

    Pesto in mac and cheese is a brilliant idea! We often chop up some darker greens–spinach or kale–and add them to our mac & cheese, but somehow I’ve never tried big handfuls of basil. Clearly this must happen soon! As for halloween costumes, I have to tell you that one theme in the US this year is the government shutdown…but that’s probably a better “ha ha only seriously what is wrong with them” joke here than there.
    Eileen recently posted…A NE Portland mini coffee tourMy Profile

  2. says

    I’m totally with you- I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween. Basically the only thing I find charming about it is the funky desserts :)
    And as for mac & cheese- the ultimate comfort food- I love the “pesto” you added here. I could trick myself that I was eating plenty of vegetables while in fact eating a huge bowl of carbs and cheese :) success!
    Ruthy @ Omeletta recently posted…Pumpkin Spiced Doughnut HolesMy Profile

  3. Elaine says

    Hello, I’m Elaine. I love food blogs. My favorite is yours and “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook. (also a blog) Between the two of you, I get the best recipes. Keep them coming. Elaine.

  4. Megan says

    Hi, Becca! Thanks for posting this recipe! My boyfriend loves macaroni and cheese and this is a nice spin on it that looks super yummy.

    As for Halloween, it might not help much but I always figured that I was giving out the candy in exchange for seeing the cute costumes. When I was a kid my parents told me was that we only gave candy to kids who had costumes. If we ran out of candy or didn’t want to give any, we simply turned off the outdoor lights and usually no one would come after that. This was my experience in the USA, though.

    Thanks again for the awesome recipe! I love your blog <3 <3 <3

  5. SunShine says

    Wonderful sense of humor…i like you…might as well try this recipe tonight… thank you for the laugh…

  6. says

    Hi, Becca, I made this last night and really loved it! I used skim milk, and since it’s so thin, I halved that and doubled the shredded cheese (but it was low-fat). The kitchen I was in had no nutmeg, so I substituted cinnamon, and it was really delicious! Thanks for the wonderful recipes! Nicki

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