My macaroni cheese

Everyone has their own way of making macaroni cheese. It’s the kind of dish that lends itself to variation.

Here I offer up my version, which has smoked bacon in the Cheddar cheese sauce and is topped with sliced tomatoes, garlic breadcrumbs, rosemary and parmesan.

I use penne instead of macaroni because I prefer my pasta on the chunkier side. And I usually make extra and freeze a couple of portions for quick, midweek suppers.

Macaroni cheese

Serves 4 – 6

350g penne pasta
100g butter
80g plain flour
850ml milk
100g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
5 rashers smoked back bacon, chopped
knob of butter
4 medium tomatoes
75g white breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
small bunch fresh rosemary, finely chopped
50g parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.

Cook the penne in boiling, salted water according to the instructions on the packet.

Make up the cheese sauce by placing the butter, flour and milk in a saucepan and whisking over a medium heat until it thickens. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Fry the bacon pieces in a little butter and when crispy, stir into the sauce.

Mix the drained pasta with the cheese sauce and pour into a large ovenproof dish. Slice the tomatoes and lay over the pasta.

In a bowl combine the breadcrumbs, garlic, rosemary and parmesan and then sprinkle over the pasta and tomatoes.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the breadcrumb topping is golden and crispy.

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