This is an idea that has been kicking around in my head for a long time; combining the soft salty kick of a blue cheese sauce with a classic mac n cheese recipe. I made it for my colleagues for lunch today, and it went down an absolute storm. Simple, classy, comforting – and sure to become a quick staple for feeding a crowd. Veggie readers; replace the bacon with mushrooms tossed in a little paprika. Vegan readers, this ‘free from’ blue cheese and any plant milk of your choice would work here.

Serves 4 from 54p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change.

3 tbsp butter or soft spread, 3p (75p/500g)

300g macaroni or other pasta, 29p (95p/1kg)

2 tbsp flour, 3p (45p/1.5kg)

500ml milk, 24p (£1.09/4 pints)

100g cheddar, 68p (£1.50/220g)

100g stilton or other blue cheese, 77p (£1.70/220g)

100g bacon, 11p (57p/500g)

First melt 1 tbsp of your butter in the pan on a medium heat. Chop up your bacon and add to the butter. Season a little, and cook on a high heat for a few minutes until crisping at the edges. Scoop out and set to one side.

Add the remaining butter to the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Add the flour and stir briskly to make a thick paste. Add a splash of milk, still stirring, to make a roux, and then another splash, and another, to form your white sauce. Continue until all the milk is incorporated. If you get a stubborn lump or two, just lift them out with a slotted spoon or a fork; life is too short to worry about remixing sauces.

Grate in the cheese or dice it and sling it in, and add the pasta, and tip the bacon back in to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes until the pasta is soft and swollen – you may need to gradually add a glass of water, as the pasta will absorb the liquid from the sauce as it cooks, and it will thicken.

Serve with a little black pepper to finish.

I added chard to mine, freshly picked from my back garden. I don’t have enough for everyone, so you can add spinach (fresh or frozen), or any other greens, or just leave it out.

Jack Monroe. My new book, Cooking On A Bootstrap, is available here.

All text copyright Jack Monroe.