With crispy bacon & garlic thyme breadcrumbs

Serves: 6-8

Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 strips smoked streaky bacon, finely sliced
  • 1 bunch spring onions/scallions, finely sliced
  • 80g/¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 300g/10½oz dried macaroni
  • 80g/ cup unsalted butter
  • 80g/ cup plain flour
  • 1 ltr/4 cups milk
  • A few gratings of nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 200g/7oz Ivy’s Reserve Vintage Cheddar, grated

Try it with...



  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºc/200ºC fan/425ºF/gas 7.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium heat and fry the bacon for 8 minutes, stirring regularly, until crisp. Add the spring onions/scallions and fry for 4 minutes until softened. Remove to a plate.
  3. In the same pan, add 2 tbsp olive oil and toast the breadcrumbs for 5 minutes, stirring regularly until golden and crisp. Add the garlic and thyme, fry for a further 3 minutes, then remove to a plate.
  4. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for 6 minutes (or following the box instructions) until al dente. Drain, reserving a mugful of starchy pasta water.
  5. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat, then stir in the flour to make a paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk, a splash at a time, whisking constantly to avoid lumps, until the sauce has thickened. Grate in the nutmeg, add the mustard and season with black pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, reserving a handful.
  6. Fold the pasta through the sauce, adding splashes of pasta water to loosen if needed. Finally stir through the crispy bacon and spring onions/scallions, reserving a handful, and transfer to a large baking dish or tray.
  7. Top with the reserved grated Cheddar and bake for 20 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Sprinkle the remaining bacon and crispy breadcrumbs over the macaroni and bake for 5 minutes more.
  8. Bring to the table and serve with a large green salad.

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