Matt's Mac & Cheese




Serves 4

Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time: 35 mins 


400gm dried macaroni

70ml olive oil

100gm speck, cut into lardons

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

120 ml dry white wine

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp thyme, plus extra to serve

600ml pouring cream

200gm each coarsely grated vintage Cheddar and Gruyere

100gm ricotta

200gm finely grated parmesan 

1 tsp smoked paprika

100gm coarse fresh breadcrumbs

Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, or to serve


1.    Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

2.    Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of well-salted boiling water for 6-7 minutes until al dente, drain and return to pan.

3.    While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat, add speck and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until crisp and the fat renders, then stir in the garlic until it becomes fragrant.

4.    Deglaze the pan with wine, scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen all the delicious crusty bits, simmer for 2-3 minutes until it is reduced by half, then stir in the mustard and thyme. Tip the mixture into the pasta, then stir in the cream, Gruyere, cheddar, ricotta, paprika and half the parmesan, season generously with salt and paper to taste, mix well to combine together and then transfer to a large baking dish.

5.    Mix the breadcrumbs with remaining oil and remaining parmesan and season to taste. Scatter over the top of the pasta, then bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

6.    Serve hot, scattered with extra thyme and with a little finely grated lemon rind.