The Ultimate Grana Padano Macaroni & Tiger Prawn Cheese

Alex Mackay, cook, teacher, writer, and food lover serves up a collection of his recipes made for sharing showing the versatility of Grana Padano PDO cheese. With lite bites to quick pasta: brunch to supper standbys you can find recipes for every occassion this Easter.

This pale beauty tastes like luxury and feels like comfort. I've simmered my prawn stock thousands of times for risotto, to sauce fish, scallops, chicken, veal, sweetbreads and to make salad dressing. But each time I make it I marvel that I can find so much flavour, so easily, from the shells that usually go in the bin. The stock then gets cooked into the pasta that takes on the prawn's flavour before getting a Grana Padano lift to make gloriously gooey. I used a pasta called cavatappi for the photo, a sort of twirly whirly number because I liked the way it mirrored the shape of the prawns, but macaroni is just as beautiful.

Serves 2; Preparation time: 35-45 minutes ; Cooking time: 15-20 minutes; Difficulty: Moderate

  • method
  • Ingredients


1. Boil your kettle.
2. Start with the prawn stock. Pull the prawns' heads off. Take the shells off the tail meat but leave the last little tailfin at the end (this is purely for presentation). Keep all of the shells and heads for the stock. Next, cut the tail meat in half lengthways. Take out the black intestines. Refrigerate the prawn tails.
3. Get a medium sized (20cm) saucepan. Add the tomato puree and the prawn shells and heads. Add 700ml of water. Bring to the boil. Simmer rapidly for ten minutes.
4. Next, get a small (16-18cm) saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and butter. Cover. Sweat for 7 minutes on a medium heat.
5. Boil your kettle. Strain the prawn stock into a measuring jug. You should have about 450ml. Put 150ml into a small saucepan to use for the sauce later. Top the remaining stock up to 500ml with boiling water. Add the stock to the onions and garlic. Bring to the boil. Add the macaroni. Bring back to the boil. Boil furiously for 1 minute. Turn the heat to low. Cover. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Take the lid off, simmer and stir for 3 minutes. Stir in more water from your kettle as you go if you need to, the texture should be creamy. Take the pan off the heat. Fold in the Grana Padano, it'll go a little stringy, that's how it should be. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Cover. Leave to sit for 2 minutes.
6. When the pasta is nearly ready, get a medium sized (20cm) frying pan. Add the vegetable oil and get it hot. Add the prawns; fry at a steady sizzle on a medium heat for 1 minute each side. The prawns are cooked when they turn pink.
7. Spoon the pasta onto plates. Put the prawns on top. Add the stock to the pan the prawns were in. Bring it to the boil over a high heat. Boil for 20 seconds. Spoon the sauce over the pasta and prawns. Take your block of Grana Padano to the table and shave it generously over the top.


10 large prawns with their heads and shells on (frozen prawns are fine but they must be whole)
3 tbsp tomato puree
700ml water
1 medium onion, peeled, diced 1/2-1cm
3 garlic cloves, peeled, finely sliced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g macaroni
10 tbsp Grana Padano, grated, plus plenty to shave on top
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and cayenne pepper

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