Crunchy macaroni and cheese

The combination of hot, oozy, cheesy pasta and a crunchy toasted bread topping makes this recipe from The Australian Women's Weekly's 'Food For The Soul' cookbook the ultimate comfort food.

  • 10 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print


Crunchy macaroni and cheese
  • 60 gram butter
  • 1/4 cup (25g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1.25 litre (5 cups) milk
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (80g) grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup (40g) grated gruyere cheese
  • 1/3 cup (40g) grated cheddar cheese
  • 400 gram macaroni pasta
  • 200 gram speck, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 20 gram butter, extra
  • 150 gram sourdough bread, crust removed, torn into small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Crunchy macaroni and cheese
  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 2.5-litre (10-cup) ovenproof dish.
  • 2
    Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook, stirring until mixture bubbles. Gradually stir in milk, stirring constantly until all the milk is incorporated and sauce is smooth.
  • 3
    Add nutmeg; cook, stirring until mixture boils and thickens. Remove pan from heat; add cheeses, mix well. Season to taste.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted boiling water for 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain.
  • 5
    Heat a large frying pan over medium heat; cook speck and extra butter, stirring, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add half the speck to the cheese sauce. Add sourdough to remaining speck; stir until well combined.
  • 6
    Stir pasta into cheese sauce. Pour mixture into ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with bread mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until bread is golden and crisp. Sprinkle with parsley.


You could also make this recipe in two 1.25-litre (5-cup) ovenproof dishes, if you prefer. Make child-friendly by omitting the gruyère and increasing the cheddar. Recipe is not suitable to freeze.