Alpine macaroni and cheese with roasted apples
This recipe is based on a typical Swiss ‘alpine macaroni’. The béchamel sauce stars tasty gruyere cheese, and roasting the apple slices lends sweetness and helps balance out this rich, savoury dish
- 500 g large Italian pasta tubes (this recipe used rigatoni)
- juice ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 Winesap apples (or try Braeburn or Pink Lady)
- 1 red onion
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch white pepper
- pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 bayleaf
- 2 1/2 cups dark blue (full cream) milk
- 1 cup grated gruyere or tasty cheese
- oil, for frying
- 250 g middle bacon rashers, rind removed, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a deep 30cm baking dish with butter. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted water for 10-12 minutes or according to the packet instructions. Drain into a colander.
- In a small bowl, add lemon juice and olive oil. Core and slice the apples into thick wedges. Toss a handful at a time in the juice and oil then place on the oven tray. Cut onion into thin wedges and toss in the remaining juice and oil then add to the tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until just cooked.
- For the béchamel sauce, add butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and melt. Stir in the flour and allow it to bubble for 2-3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, bayleaf and ½ cup of the milk then stir until smooth.
- Gradually add the remaining milk in ½ cup amounts, stirring after each addition until smooth. Turn heat to low, add grated cheese and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check sauce for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Remove bayleaf.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium heat, add a drizzle of oil then the bacon and sauté until just cooked and lightly coloured.
- Drizzle a little béchamel into the base of the dish, add all the pasta tubes then scatter with most of the apple, onion and bacon. Top with remaining béchamel, apple, onion and bacon plus the gruyere cheese.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden on top. Serve with a winter salad.