The key to perfecting this filling favourite lies in the béchamel sauce: make sure it is smooth, creamy, packed with a blend of gooey cheese.
400g (14oz) dried macaroni
85g (3oz) unsalted butter
100g (3 1/2 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
60 (2 oz) plain flour
1 tsp mustard power
Pinch of ground nutmeg
400ml (14fl oz) milk, warmed
175 g (6 oz) cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
100g (3 1/2 oz) vegan mozzarella cheese
1. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the macaroni and boil for 2 minutes less than specified on the packet. Drain well and set aside, shaking off any excess water.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/ Gas 6) and grease a large ovenproof serving dish. Melt 30g (1 oz) of the butter in a small pan. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
3. Melt the remaining butter in a large saucepan over a low heat and stir in the flour. Cook, stirring, for one minute, then stir in the mustard power and nutmeg. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk. Return the pan to the heat and bring the mixture to the boil, whisking, for 2-3 minutes, or until the béchamel sauce thickens. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cheddar cheese until melted and smooth, then add the macaroni and mozzarella and stir.
4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and smooth the surface. Toss the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over the top. Place the dish on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes, or until heated through and golden brown on top. Leave to stand for 2 minutes, then serve straight from the dish.