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This is such a great dish to make. You can have a mac and cheese (as the Americans say) all by itself or as a side dish. I once had a roasted guinea fowl for two with truffled macaroni cheese at the legendary Joel Robuchon restaurant in Paris – now that is pure indulgence – but there is nothing stopping you from roasting a chook and throwing together a side of macaroni cheese to go with it. The most important thing is to use good-quality cheese and bacon and you can’t fail.

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  • 400 g (14 oz) dried macaroni
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 rashers smoky bacon, diced
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) pure (whipping) cream
  • 125 g ( oz/1 cup) grated good-quality Cheddar
  • 250 g (9 oz/2 cups) grated good-quality Gruyère
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 80 g ( oz/1 cup) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 100 g ( oz/1 cup) finely grated Parmesan


Put the macaroni in a saucepan with plenty of boiling salted water and cook for 8–10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and refresh in iced water, then drain again and pat dry with a cloth or tea towel. Heat a little extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add the cream to the same pan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the cheeses, garlic, mustard and paprika and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring, until the cheese has melted and the sauce is thick. Season and add the macaroni and bacon. Preheat the grill (broiler).

Place the macaroni mixture into four bowls or one large gratin dish. Mix the breadcrumbs with a little oil. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the macaroni, then the breadcrumbs. Grill (broil) until golden brown and with a crisp crust.


  • Add flavourings to the macaroni: assorted mushrooms, sautéed in butter, oil and garlic, are nice; as is braised cabbage, mixed through and the whole thing gratinéed. Vary the cheeses – there are lots of choices and they are all yours.