Baked Cheese With Watercress Pesto

Baked Cheese With Watercress Pesto

Making the most of the abundance of leeks & spring greens- this is a comfort food winner! This cheesy Spring bake is packed with spring onions, leeks, broccoli, ham & lashings of cheese and finished with a watercress pesto. Perfect to dunk crusty bread into and a great way of using up veg in the fridge!


Step 1
  • Pre-heat oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Heat your oil in a large, non-stick pan over a medium-high heat, add your pancetta and fry for 10 mins moving about until starting to become crispy. Remove your pancetta from the pan, place on kitchen roll to soak up excess fat and leave to one side.
Step 2
  • In the pan used to cook your pancetta, add your butter, crumbled stock, 100ml water and your leeks. Season with salt and pepper and fry for 5 mins, ensuring to turn until softened and fragrent. Remove from the heat and pop to one side.
Step 3
  • Onto your sauce! Add your butter and flour to a large, non-stick pan over a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to create a thick paste. Gradually add your Cravendale bit by bit, using a whisk to stir as you go and keep smooth.
Step 4
  • Once all of your milk has been added, simmer until thickened before adding a pinch of salt and pepper, dijon mustard and most of your cheeses (set aside a handful of cheese to sprinkle on top). Stir until combined and remove from the heat.
Step 5
  • Add a thin layer of your cheese sauce to an oven dish. Lay 4 leek halves across the centre cut side up and dot about half of your spring onions and tenderstem to fill the gaps before sprinking with half of your pancetta. Add half of your remaining sauce, followed by your remaining leeks, spring onions, tenderstem and half of your remaining pancetta. Pour over the rest of your sauce and finish with your leftover cheese, pancetta and a crack of black pepper.
Step 6
  • Pop in the oven for 25-30 mins until bubbling and golden. Meanwhile, onto your pesto. Simply whizz together all ingredients in a food processor with a large pinch of pepper and pop to one side.
Step 7
  • Remove your cheese bake from the oven, drizzle all over with watercress pesto and get dunking your crusty bread!


Vegetable oil
1 tbsp
Diced pancetta
140 g
1 tbsp
Vegetable stock cube (crumbled)
Leeks trimmed to around 6 inches, cut in half & washed
Spring onions trimmed to around 6 inches & washed
Tenderstem broccoli
200 g
For the cheesy sauce
50 g
Plain flour
50 g
Arla Cravendale Semi-skimmed milk
500 ml
Dijon mustard
1 tbsp
Grated cheddar cheese
100 g
Grated gruyère cheese
100 g
For the watercress pesto
100 g
Garlic cloves minced
Grated Parmesan cheese
75 g
Olive oil
150 ml
Juice & zest of 1
Toasted pine nuts
50 g
To serve
Crusty bread for dunking