Macaroni and cheese

by Ed Halmagyi


  • 250g macaroni pasta
  • 5 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 eschalots, finely diced
  • ¼ bunch thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup plain flour
  • 1L hot milk
  • salt flakes and freshly-milled black pepper
  • 300g vintage cheddar, grated
  • 200g Gruyere, grated
  • 250g ricotta


1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Cook the macaroni according to manufacturer’s instructions until al dente, then drain well and set aside. Place the bread in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Fry the breadcrumbs in 3 Tbsp butter until golden, then set aside.
2 Sauté the remaining butter, paprika, eschalots, thyme and bay leaf for 5 minutes, until aromatic, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the flour and cook until it resembles wet sand, then add the hot milk, season with salt and pepper and whisk until smooth. Discard the bay leaf. Simmer for 4 minutes, until thickened, then fold in the cheddar, half the Gruyere, and the ricotta
3 Stir in the pasta and spoon into a 3L casserole dish and bake for 10 minutes. Top with the remaining Gruyere and breadcrumbs, then bake for another 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, before serving.