Mac Lamb – my version of mac and cheese made using leftover lamb. A pan of creamy pasta with crunchy bread on top. Total comfort food!
This crunchy looking little pan of cheesy deliciousness is my recipe for Mac Lamb. Basically my version of mac and cheese using leftover roast lamb with crispy bread cubes on top.
Ingredients you will need to make this mac lamb recipe
- Cooked lamb
- – can sub smoked bacon
- slices – or bread of your choice
My top tips for making this lamb mac and cheese
- I used orecchiette pasta because the shape tends to hold the sauce well – feel free to use any small macaroni pasta you like or have on hand.
- Speck is a type of cured pork, like prosciutto but with a more smoky flavour. Speck is not as hard to find as you may think. I found it in my local Woolworths supermarket in the speciality packaged meats and cheeses section – think chorizo, kransky etc in shrink-wrapped packaging. Smoked bacon would be a good substitute.
- If I’m not making this dish in the next few days after eating our roast lamb (usually from this pulled lamb shoulder recipe), I chop the leftover lamb into bite sized chunks and freeze it in a plastic ziplock bag. These photos were actually taken (then eaten) using my frozen lamb leftovers just tossed in as is, without even defrosting them!
More leftover lamb ideas
Leftover Lamb Stuffed Peppers (Capsicums) – oven-roasted peppers stuffed with lamb, sundried tomatoes, potato, basil & feta, topped with greek yoghurt.
More lamb recipes
Slow Cooked Pulled Lamb Shoulder – moist, tender, pull apart lamb that is so soft it shreds with just two forks.
Rich Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle – a tender, slow cooked lamb shank ragu packed with vegetables. Just stir through some pasta for a complete meal!
Lamb Sausage Pasta with Basil & Tomato – lamb sausage meatballs in a creamy sauce with basil & tomato.
Lamb Ribs – these oven roasted lamb ribs are tasty, moist and easy! Finger-licking lamb!
Quick Lamb Ragu – a fast weeknight-friendly lamb ragu recipe, using lamb mince (ground lamb).
Lamb would have to be the favourite protein of choice in our house. There is often leftover lamb leg of lamb, or lamb shoulder & this recipe takes advantage of that to make a macaroni casserole recipe that will have you wanting to have leftover lamb!
Mac Lamb - Lamb Mac and Cheese
- 250 g dried macaroni pasta (9oz) I used orecchiette
- 150 g chopped leftover cooked lamb - about 1 cup (5oz)
- 150 g speck (5oz) chopped (see notes)
- 40 g plus 3 tbsp. salted butter (1½oz + 3 tbsp) divided
- 40 g plain/all purpose flour (1½oz)
- 2 cups milk - low fat or full fat your choice
- 2 garlic cloves crushed/minced
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary - about 4 sprigs (or ½ tsp dried)
- 40 g cheddar cheese (1½oz) grated
- 40 g fresh parmesan cheese (1½oz) grated
- 2-4 thick slices sourdough bread (depending on size) cut into roughly 1.5cm or 1 inch cubes
- Preheat oven to 180c or 350f.
- Cook pasta (250g/9oz) according to packet directions, taking out & draining 1 min short of recommended cooking time, mix through 1 tbsp. salted butter and set aside.
- Heat a non-stick frypan over medium heat and fry speck (150g/5oz) for 2-3 mins, or until it starts to brown and crisp, then set aside. Don't wipe out pan.
- In a medium-sized microwave safe bowl, melt 2 tbsp salted butter. Once melted add bread cubes (2-4 slices depending on size) and mix to coat evenly in butter - I use a pastry brush for this. Then set aside.
- Meanwhile, make your white sauce by melting remaining salted butter (40g/1½oz) in a medium saucepan over low heat.
- Once melted, add flour (40g/1½oz) and continue to stir over low heat for 1-2 mins until the flour starts to sizzle and bubble, it will look grainy and get lighter in colour - then remove from heat.
- Still off the heat, add 3-4 tbsp. of milk (2 cups total), mixing well until milk is totally absorbed and mixture is smooth (it will look like play dough at first). Repeat this 3 times - by now you should have what resembles smooth single cream - you can now add the remaining milk, mixing to combine completely.
- Now place the saucepan over low heat and stir continuously (see my notes for my secret stirring technique - trust me it helps!) for about 4-5 minutes, or until your sauce is thick. Stir through parmesan (40g/1½oz) and cheddar cheese (40g/1½oz), then set aside.
- Reheat the non-stick frypan then add lamb (150g/5oz) rosemary (2 tsp fresh/½ tsp dried) and crushed garlic (2 cloves), fry for 1-2 mins until garlic starts to cook but not burn.
- Add lamb mixture, pasta, and reserved speck to white sauce and mix gently to combine. Place mixture into a lightly greased ovenproof pan/baking dish and bake for 15 mins.
- Remove from oven, scatter bread cubes on top and return to oven and bake for 15 mins to crisp bread cubes. Serve immediately.
- I used orecchiette pasta because the shape tends to hold the sauce well - feel free to use any small macaroni pasta you like or have on hand.
- For the white sauce, the important points are cooking out the flour mixture at the beginning, and starting to add the milk in small increments, combining completely between additions AND using my tried and tested stirring technique.
- My stirring technique has been refined over many years of white/cheese sauce making. I use a figure 8 motion and a medium to large size silicon spatula held at 180 degress to the base of the pan. The secret is to scrape as much of the base continuously, this helps to stop it "catching". I do it with the 8 laying sideways because I find it a more natural motion. Basically, I just scrape a wide figure 8 pattern on the bottom of the pan, making sure to get right into the edges of the pan and covering the centre almost vertically as you travel to each side. Maximum scrapage (I think I just made up a new word!) for the whole bottom of the pan continuously.
- Speck is a type of cured pork, like prosciutto but with a more smoky flavour. Speck is not as hard to find as you may think. I found it in my local Woolworths supermarket in the specialty packaged meats and cheeses section - think chorizo, kransky etc in shrink wrapped packaging.