Classic macaroni and cheese with smoked streaky bacon, aged cheddar and fresh sage

  • 30 to 45g unsalted butter
  • 250g smoked streaky bacon, chopped
  • Salt
  • 450g dried elbow macaroni
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 160g finely diced onion
  • 15g fresh minced garlic
  • 20g plain flour
  • 700ml milk
  • 240ml double cream
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 565g grated aged mature cheddar cheese, divided
  • 150g grated Parmesan, divided
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 30g fresh sage leaves, plus leaves for garnish
  • 30g chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, plus leaves for garnish
1) Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Coat 2 baking dishes with the butter.

2) Place chopped bacon on a baking sheet and cook in oven until half cooked, about 10 mins. Drain off excess grease, reserve bacon.

3) In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook elbow macaroni until al dente, about 8 to 10 mins. Strain, toss lightly in olive oil, reserve.

4) In a saucepan, on medium-high heat, saute bacon with a light amount of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent then add the garlic. Dust with flour, whisk in milk, cream, nutmeg, and mustard powder. Bring to simmer stirring constantly for several minutes. Whisk in 450g of Cheddar and 50g of Parmesan. Stir until all the cheese is melted. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Fold in the pasta, sage and parsley.

5) Place into buttered baking dishes. Top with remaining cheeses and place dishes on baking tray and place in the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 mins. Let cool about 5 mins, garnish with parsley and sage leaves and serve!

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