- For the cheese sauce
- 2 cups milk
- a few sprigs thyme
- 6 black peppercorns
- 1 onion, cut into wedges
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 T butter
- 4 T flour
- 200 g Grana Padano PDO, finely grated, plus extra for sprinkling
- 150 g mature Gouda, finely grated
- fresh nutmeg, finely grated
- For the pasta:
- 500 g rigatoni, cooked al dente
- 2 pork rashers, chopped and fried (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. To make the cheese sauce, gently heat the milk in a saucepan with the thyme, peppercorns, onion, garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
2. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan. Add the flour and mix to form a roux (paste). Cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat. Gradually whisk in the infused milk. Return to the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking continuously, until thick. Add the Grana Padano PDO and Gouda and mix to combine. Season with freshly grated nutmeg.
3. Fold the al dente rigatoni through the cheese sauce, with the crispy pork rashers. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with more cheese. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.