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Preparation time
less than 30 mins
Cooking time
30 mins to 1 hour
Serves 6-8
100gButter – plus extra for greasing
100gPlain Flour
1 Heaped tspDijon mustard
1.2 LitresWhole milk
5 tbspDouble cream
1Bay Leaf
400gGrated mature Cheddar
20 turnsBlack peppermill
8 RaspsFreshly grated nutmeg
500gDried macaroni
100gSmoked bacon lardons or smoked pancetta cubes
60gWhite breadcrumbs
50gParmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp (per 600ml water)  Salt

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 and grease a 35x20cm/14x8in ovenproof dish. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, stir in the plain flour and cook for a minute. 

Step 2

Add the mustard, then take the pan off the heat and gradually whisk in the milk and cream.

Step 3

Add the bay leaf, put the pan back on the heat and cook the sauce, stirring constantly, until it boils and is thick and bubbling.

Step 4

Take the pan off the heat again, remove the bay leaf and add the Cheddar, then keep stirring until the cheese has melted. Season with black pepper and nutmeg.

Step 5

Boil the macaroni in a large pan of salted boiling water (with a ratio of 1 teaspoon of salt per 600ml of water) for about 10 minutes or until al dente, then drain well.

Step 6

Fry the bacon in a frying pan until crisp. Stir into the macaroni cheese and pour the mixture into the ovenproof dish.

Step 7

Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and scatter them over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.

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