- 150 g butter
- 150 g flour
- 1 l milk
- 300 g white Cheddar, grated
- 75 g Parmesan grated, plus extra for topping
- 250 ml cream
- Sea salt and white pepper, to taste
- 1 t fresh nutmeg, grated
- 1 T canola oil
- 200 g streaky smoked bacon, chopped
- 600 g fresh penne or dried macaroni, cooked until al dente
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then stir in the flour using a whisk.
Whisk for 3 minutes to create a roux, ensuring that it’s smooth.
Add 1 cup of milk at a time to the roux to ensure that its temperature does not drop too quickly and form lumps. As the roux begins thickening, add the next cup of milk.
Once all the milk has been incorporated, start adding the Cheddar and Parmesan, a little at a time, to ensure that it melts evenly.
Stir in the cream, season to taste, then add the nutmeg.
Heat the canola oil in a separate pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and fry until crisp.
Place the cooked pasta in a large greased ovenproof dish and pour over the cheese sauce. Top with the bacon and finish with a layer of freshly grated Parmesan.
Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Cook’s note: A good roux is the basis of any classic mac ‘n cheese. Cooking the flour in the butter is crucial as this removes the floury taste. Don’t limit yourself to using Cheddar and Parmesan; try blue cheese, Gruyère, Emmenthal or even goat’s cheese.