50g unsalted butter
1/3 cup (50g) plain flour
3 cups (750ml) milk
250g strong vintage cheddar, grated
1/2 cup (125ml) pure (thin) cream
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 tbsp olive oil
250g bacon, finely chopped
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup (25g) panko breadcrumbs (see notes)
1/2 cup (35g) sourdough breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling, salted water according to packet instructions. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons cooking water. Return pasta to saucepan with water. Set aside.
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour, then cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. In 5 batches, whisk in the milk until smooth. Stir in 200g cheese, followed by the cream and nutmeg, then season to taste. Pour over the pasta and toss to combine, then transfer to a large ovenproof dish or 6 individual dishes.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in parsley (reserving some for garnish), panko and sourdough crumbs, and remaining 50g cheese. Season and sprinkle over pasta. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and crisp, then serve garnished with reserved parsley.