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Garlic Shrimp Mac and Cheese


500 g / 1 lb peeled shrimp/prawns (Note 1)
3 garlic cloves , finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
50 g / 3.5 tbsp unsalted butter , divided
3 tbsp / 30g flour , plain / all purpose
2 cups / 500ml milk , preferably warmed (Note 2)
2.5 cups hot tap water
250 g / 8 oz elbow macaroni , uncooked (2.5 cups)
1.5 cups (150g) cheese (Cheddar, gruyere, or other), freshly grated (Note 3)
3/4 cup (75g) mozzarella cheese , freshly grated (Note 3)


3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder

Parmesan Breadcrumb Topping:

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp olive oil


Preheat broiler/grill on high.
Mix together Breadcrumb Topping.
Heat oil and melt 1 tbsp butter in a large, deep skillet or heatproof pot on the stove over high heat.
Add shrimp, sprinkle with pepper, then cook for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook for another minute until the shrimp has changed colour but not fully cooked.
Transfer to bowl. Turn heat down to medium.
Melt remaining butter. Add flour and cook for 1 minute.
Pour milk in slowly, stirring as you go. Once incorporated and lump free (use whisk if needed), stir in Seasonings, then water.
Once the liquid is hot, add macaroni. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring regularly, until macaroni is almost cooked through, then take it off the stove.
Add cheeses and stir through, then add shrimp. Taste for salt – tweak if needed. It should be saucy (see video) – it gets absorbed. Should still be saucy at this stage – sauce gets absorbed/thickens more in next step.
Sprinkle over breadcrumbs, then place under the hot grill for just 2 – 3 minutes until the top is golden.
Sprinkle with parsley if desired and served immediately!

1. Prawns/shrimp: I use frozen for convenience. Thaw completely and pat off excess water with paper towels before using.
2. Milk: full fat preferred but low fat is ok
3. Cheese: FRESHLY GRATED is essential for silky cheese sauce. Pre-grated packet cheese contains anti-caking agents which can cause the sauce to go powdery.
Both cheeses can be swapped out for your choice of melting cheese, this is the combination I favour. I usually use cheddar or gruyere for flavour. And mozzarella for cheesiness and richness but with a less intense flavour. In the video, the orange cheese is Red Leicester which is a UK sharp cheddar.
4. Make ahead / storage: Best to make this using my Baked Mac and Cheese recipe which is more suited to making ahead (directions in note 4). Amend recipe as follows – Follow Note 4 Make Ahead directions in the Baked Mac and Cheese recipe. Toss shrimp/prawns with olive oil, pepper and garlic. Mix sauce, pasta and shrimp, pour into baking dish, proceed with recipe.