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

  • Preparation Time90 mins
  • Cooking Time55 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyEasy
30 to 45g unsalted butter
250g smoked streaky bacon, chopped
450g dried elbow macaroni
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
160g finely diced onion
2 tbsp fresh minced garlic
30g plain flour
750ml milk
250ml double cream
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp mustard powder
565g grated aged mature cheddar cheese, divided
150g grated parmesan cheese, divided
Cracked black pepper
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves, plus leaves for garnish
2 tbsp 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 the chopped bacon on a baking tray and cook in the oven until half cooked, about 10 mins. Drain off excess grease, reserve the bacon.

3) In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the 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 the bacon with a light amount of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent then add the garlic. Dust with flour, then whisk in milk, cream, nutmeg and mustard powder.

5) Bring to a simmer stirring constantly for several minutes. Whisk in 450g of the cheddar and 50g of the parmesan. Stir until all the cheese is melted. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Fold in the pasta, sage and parsley.

6) Place into the buttered baking dishes. Top with the remaining cheeses and place on baking tray and then into the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 mins.

7) Leave to cool for about 5 mins, garnish with parsley and sage leaves and serve.

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