… and I’ve tried a lot over the years. I think I’ve finally perfected it – this is the version my family enjoy anyway.  You could just use Cheddar cheese but the combination of the two different cheeses gives it a lovely taste and an appetising depp golden colour.

Macaroni Cheese


500g small dried pasta (macaroni, spirals, twists or any shape that holds a sauce well)

90g Red Leicester cheese, coarsely grated

90g extra mature Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

2 heaped tablespoons butter

2 heaped tablespoons plain flour

700ml semi-skimmed milk

1 level teaspoon English mustard powder

freshly grated black pepper to taste

1 large ovenproof dish (big enough for the pasta to only take up half the dish before it’s cooked)


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 deg C for conventional electric ovens, 180 deg C for fan ovens or gas mark 6
  2. Boil the pasta according to the cooking instructions. Drain when cooked and put it into the ovenproof dish
  3. Meanwhile, start making the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan.
  4. Stir the flour into the melted butter. It will make a thick paste.
  5. Stir approx a quarter of the milk into the butter and flour paste. Keep stirring until you get rid of any lumps. Then stir in the remainder of the milk.
  6. Carry on stirring the sauce over a high heat until it thickens (typically 2-3 minutes but it can take longer).
  7. Put 2 heaped tablespoons of cheese to one side so you can use it on top of the bake later.
  8. Add the rest of the grated cheese to the sauce. Stir it in with the mustard powder and the pepper. You should now have a good, thick cheese sauce.
  9. Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and stir the whole thing well so that all the pasta pieces are coated.
  10. Sprinkle the top of the mixture with the grated cheese that you put aside earlier.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes or until the top is starting to turn golden



If you aren’t embracing Meatfree Mondays or can’t bear to eat a meal without some form of meat, try frying some bacon pieces or chopped up chorizo and add to the dish before you put it in the oven.