- 1.3 litres whole milk
- ¼ onion
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 star anise
- 100g butter
- 100g plain flour
- 100g Comté cheese, grated
- 100g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
- 500g dried macaroni
- 2 x 150g mozzarella balls, drained and sliced or torn into pieces
- 30g Parmesan, grated
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the breadcrumb topping:
- 25g butter
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 150g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 50g fresh black truffle
- Pour the milk into a saucepan, then add the onion, garlic cloves, bay leaf and star anise. Bring almost to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and set aside to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain into a jug and discard the flavourings.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6.
- Melt the butter in a separate saucepan over a low heat, then stir in the flour to make a roux and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the warm infused milk, until the mixture is smooth. Slowly bring to the boil over a low heat, whisking continuously, until the sauce thickens. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the Comté and Cheddar cheeses and whisk in until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While the sauce is cooking, cook the macaroni in a large pan of salted boiling water until al dente, about 9 minutes or according to the packet instructions. Drain, refresh briefly under cold running water and drain again.
- Meanwhile, make the breadcrumb topping. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the garlic and sauté for a minute without colouring. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cook over a low heat for about 8 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are pale golden and lightly toasted, stirring regularly to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn. Stir in the parsley.
- Tip the macaroni into the cheese sauce and mix well to coat. Pour the mixture into a large, wide gratin dish. Scatter the mozzarella on top, then sprinkle over the Parmesan. Sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs over the top.
- Bake for about 15–20 minutes, until the topping is golden and crisp. Serve immediately.
- Shave the black truffle on top
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