Cabbage-and-ham mac ‘n cheese

Cabbage-and-ham mac ‘n cheese

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  • 4
  • Easy
  • 5 minutes
  • 40 minutes
  • Woolworths Weltevrede Black Cherry Merlot

“This caramelised cabbage is the gift that keeps on giving, and it’s spectacular with any kind of cheese. I’ve spooned heaps of it onto pizza with blue cheese, but it absolutely belongs in this mac ‘n cheese. Pile it onto a baked potato, too.” – Khanya Mzongwana


  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 baby cabbages, thinly sliced (or 1⁄4 large cabbage, sliced)
  • 100 g butter
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 100 g Cheddar, grated
  • 200 g mozzarella, grated
  • 50 g Woolworths hard cheese, finely grated, plus extra for serving
  • 300 g macaroni or penne
  • 200 g gypsy ham

Cooking Instructions

1. Heat 2 T olive oil in a pan. Sauté the cabbage in the oil over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to caramelise, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the butter and sugar and sauté until the sugar has dissolved. Add the thyme, then season, stirring again. Set aside until ready to use.

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Once the butter has started to bubble, add the flour, stirring continuously. Once the flour is fully incorporated into the butter, gradually whisk in the milk. Continue whisking until the sauce begins to thicken. Once the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon, stir in the cheese and allow to melt. Season to taste.

4. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 8–10 minutes, or until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain and return to the saucepan. Stir in the cheese sauce.

5. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Pour the pasta into an ovenproof dish, then spoon over the cabbage. Stuff rosettes of ham into
the cabbage. Top with the remaining hard cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden. Serve hot.

Cook's note: Prepare extra caramelised cabbage to serve with almost anything: a side for roasts, a topping for burgers, sandwiches and toast – it’ll keep for up to a week in a jar in the fridge.

Find more cabbage recipes here. 

Photograph: Myburgh Du Plessis
Production: Khanya Mzongwana 
Food assistant: Thalia Pillay

Khanya Mzongwana Recipe by: Khanya Mzongwana
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If you're anything like our deputy food editor Khanya Mzongwana, you're obsessed with uniqueness and food with feeling. Cook her family-tested favourites, midweek winners and her mouth-wateringly fresh takes on plant-based eating.

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