This easy creamy mac and cheese recipe topped with sage-flavored bacon crumbs is a fantastic main or celebratory side dish.
Course Dinner, Side Dish
Keyword Bacon crumbs, Creamy mac and cheese, mac and cheese
Prep Time 20minutes
Cook Time 30minutes
Total Time 50minutes
Servings 12(as a side dish)
Author Alida Ryder
For the cheese sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper
1-2tspmustard powderdepending on preference
2cupsgrated mature cheddar
For the baked mac and cheese
1kg (2lbs)macaronipar-cooked + reserve 1 cup of cooking water
For the bacon crumbs
2cupsbread / breadcrumbs
6fresh sage leaves
¼cupgrated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepperto taste
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour.
Whisk until smooth then slowly pour in the milk, a little at a time. (I always reserve approximately ½ cup milk. Some flours will absorb more/less liquid so you might not need all of it and sometimes after adding cheese I like to thin out the sauce just a little with the remaining milk.)
Whisk continuously until the sauce is thick then turn down the heat, add the spices and allow to simmer, stirring, until the sauce is thick and cooked through (this takes around 7-10 minutes on a gentle heat).
Once the sauce is cooked (the sauce will be completely smooth tasting with no flouriness) remove from the heat and add the cheddar and Parmesan. Stir until melted then season to taste.
Combine the cheese sauce with the pasta. Stir and add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce. You want the mac and cheese to be very creamy before going into the oven.
Combine the ciabatta (or breadcrumbs of your choice) with crispy bacon and sage in a food processor and blend until relatively fine. I like there to be a little texture still but blend to your preferred texture. Top the creamy mac and cheese with the bacon crumbs.
Place in the oven and allow to bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.