50g butter, plus extra for greasing
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 sprig of thyme
35g plain flour
650ml whole milk
Small pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
½ tsp English mustard powder (or 1tsp. strong mustard)
150g mature cheddar or Lincolnshire Poacher
For the breadcrumbs
2tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
120g coarse breadcrumbs or panko
Bring a large saucepan with water up to a boil, add a couple of large pinches of salt and cook the macaroni for three minutes less than the recommended cooking time. Drain and refresh in cold water.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the garlic and thyme, cook until golden brown and remove from the saucepan. Stir in the flour, cook for a couple of minutes stirring constantly and then add the milk gradually until you have a smooth sauce with no lumps. Add in the nutmeg, mustard and cheeses, stir well, and check the seasoning for salt and pepper.
Combine the pasta and the cheese sauce together, check the seasoning one more time and pour into a greased baking dish.
For the breadcrumbs, heat a frying pan over a medium high heat with the oil and add the breadcrumbs. If possible, make your own breadcrumbs with old bread and pulse to coarse chunks using a food processor. Otherwise, Panko breadcrumbs will work too. After a minute, add the cheese, stir well, turn the heat off and sprinkle over the pasta.
Visit the Specialist Cheesemakers Association's website here.
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