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Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

Recipe by Tad Lombardo

A deluxe version of the ultimate in comfort food.

  • 6 slices Italian bread, crusts removed, torn into 1cm pieces
  • 115g unsalted butter, plus more to grease dish
  • 5 ½ cups milk
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 510g sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 225g gruyere, grated
  • 100g pecorino romano, grated
  • 500g dried elbow pasta
  • 4 bacon rashers, chopped to sprinkle on top
  1. Heat the oven to 190°C. Butter a 3 litre casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Place bread pieces in a medium bowl. Place a small saucepan over medium heat and melt 30g of the butter in it. Pour the butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss.
  3. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Melt the remaining 85g of butter in a high-sided saucepan over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  5. Slowly pour the hot milk into the flour-butter mixture and whisk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 2/3 of the cheddar, 2/3 of the Gruyere and 1/3 of the Pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.
  7. Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to the boil. Add the elbow pasta and cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than packet’s directions – until the outside of the pasta is cooked but the inside is underdone.
  8. Transfer the pasta to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
  9. Stir the cooked pasta into the reserved cheese sauce.
  10. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheeses and bread mixture over the top. Bake until browned on the top, about 30 minutes.
  11. While the macaroni and cheese is in the oven, place bacon in a fry pan and cover with just enough water to submerge bacon. Bring to the boil over high heat, then lower to medium. Continue to cook until water is evaporated and bacon is crispy. Chop bacon and set aside.
  12. After 30 minutes, take the casserole dish out of the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle your macaroni and cheese with chopped bacon.

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