Giant Macaroni Cheese

This is the first dish that my mum taught me to make and 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.

Macaroni Cheese

500ml milk
25g butter
25g plain flour
100g mature cheddar, grated
50g veggie style Parmesan, grated
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
400g macaroni

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!

If you have a slow cooker, try my luxury slow cooker mac and cheese.


  1. You're killing me! This looks great. I have about 10 recipes for mac and cheese - it was my specialty. Unfortunately my husband and I can't seem to handle dairy anymore and there is no acceptable way to adapt mac and cheese so I'm left drooling over pictures!


  2. Oh no! That is dreadful news, well to me as a cheeseoholic anyway! You must give your recipes to me so they can live on!

    Have you tried making a white sauce from flour, soya milk and vegetable fat or olive oil? I am sure I tried this years ago for a guest and it was ok! Lots of freshly ground pepper, nutmeg and herbs.

  3. I don't think I have ever had macaroni cheese other than the boxed variety. I will be trying this very soon!

  4. LOVE macaroni and cheese on a cold night! It's so comforting. I like to add some sauted leeks to the sauce and pop it under the grill to make the cheesy top all crisp.

  5. I was just getting ready to ask what kind of pasta that is. This looks very good!

  6. You've made me hungry reading this, I must it soon as it's a favourite of mine.

  7. Oh, now I'm so hungry and I just ate lunch! That looks super tasty, I'll have to borrow this recipe. My husband will thank you, he loves mac n cheese (though I thank you for a more adult version ;)

  8. Wow, that looks soooooo yummy!! :)

  9. I love vegan mac & cheese. Those are gigantic noodles--they look fun and substantial.

  10. I DO love it. It looks delicious and I'm adding it to the Presto Pasta Night Roundup even though I didn't actually get your email submission.

    Better luck next week and keep 'em coming.

  11. Thanks Ruth, I must have been re-emailing you at the exact time you were writing your comment! How weird is that?

    Thanks everyone for your great comments on my macaroni, well, Pennoni Rigati if truth be told! It was absolutely delicious and Graham really enjoyed it!

  12. It looks terrific! I always make mac & cheese with penne. My poor niece was so disappointed when I told her we were having mac & cheese and served her penne - it didn't look like anything she'd ever seen before :)

  13. Hi Shawnda, I do like using penne, as it hold so much sauce. I sometimes have bolognaise with penne. I mix it through and then sprinkle over parmesan! I usually do this with second day bolognaise!

  14. The only problem with this was it was too tasty! Seconds were had as per usual.

  15. Thanks for leaving the link to this over at my blog - I'm definitely saving a bookmark so I can come back to it someday when I'm in the mood for pasta with cheese again.

  16. Hi K, I hope you do try my mum's macaroni some time. I am sure you will enjoy it :)

  17. Just so you know, parmesan cheese is not vegetarian!

    1. Actually there are several parmesan style cheese out there suitable for vegetarians. They are made the same way and have a similar flavour, but a European ruling meant they cannot be called parmesan, even though they are exactly the same except for the rennet. My 2 favourites are from Bookhams and Sainsburys.

    2. Yes there are vegetarian and vegan style parmesan cheeses out there just as there are vegetrian style meats but as a a veggie recipe writer you would hardly say a recipe called for bacon you would specify that it was a veggie style bacon.

    3. I don't think it is quite the same as vegetarians generally know to look for the veggie symbol on cheeses, but I have taken you advice on board and re-writtten the post with tips on the cheese. I am always happy to take constructive criticism.

    4. Sorry if my post came off as being harsh. I think for people new to vegetarianism or who maybe be cooing to cook for vegetarian friends these little details matter.

      ps made your chickpea patties, they were lovely!

    5. No, no you are quite right, I was assuming people should know and as you say they may not. Glad you liked the patties and feel free to speak up again if you notice anything :)


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