25 May 2007
Giant Macaroni Cheese
This is the first dish that my mum taught me to make adn it is a favourite in our house. I've even come up with a creamy and cheesey tasting vegan version of macaroni cheese for my husband. I used giant past for my dish this time, and to be honest slightly over cooked it, but it was still very tasty.
Just a note about the cheese I used in the dish. When I buy cheddar I always buy one that is suitable for vegetarians. As to the parmesan, well it isn't suitable for veggies, but you can get several parmesan style cheeses that taste just the same, are made the same way but without animal rennet and have the same texture. I like the Twineham Grange Pasta for Cheese, it used to be called Vegetarian Parmesan, but a ruling from the Eu meant they had to change the name. Sainsburys also do a nice basic range parmesan style cheese that is suitable for veggies.
Thanks to one of my readers for pointing out that I wasn't clear in my recipe.
25g plain flour
100g mature cheddar, grated
50g veggie style Parmesan, grated
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
Heat the milk in a saucepan with the peppercorns and bay leaf. Bring to the boil and then strain off the peppercorns and the bay leaf.
In another saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Add a little milk at a time and whisk until mixture thickens, then add a little more milk and do the same until all the milk is used.
Bring the sauce to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, keep whisking. Add the grated cheddar and Parmesan and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pan of salted water according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain and return to the pan. Stir in the cheese sauce.
This is not the original recipe my mum passed on to me, I have added peppercorns and a bay leaf to the milk for extra flavour and my mum never added Parmesan! But that is just tweaking as you go along isn't it? I used Pennoni Rigati for a change instead of macaroni. It is a bit like giant penne. It held the sauce beautifully! I served the pasta with some fresh coriander and freshly grated vegetarian Parmesan .
When I make macaroni cheese with traditional macaroni, I like to finish it off in the oven after I have topped it with either mushrooms or cherry tomatoes and more grated cheddar. This gives it a crispy topping and adds a little interest!