Katie QuinnComment

Macaroni, pancetta + Pecorino cheesy bake

Katie QuinnComment
Macaroni, pancetta + Pecorino cheesy bake


400g macaroni
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
350g lean, mild pancetta*, skin removed, cut into small 1cm cubes
Large handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (35g) fresh white breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (40g) finely grated pecorino, plus extra to serve


100g butter
2/3 cup (100g) plain flour
3 cups (750ml) milk
1/4 cup (60ml) white wine
1 cup (250ml) light cooking cream
1 cup (80g) Pecorino, grated
1 cup (80g) Parmesan, grated


Preheat the oven to 200˚C

For the bechamel sauce, place a saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt before adding the flour. Using a balloon whisk, beat together until a thick paste forms.Reduce the heat to low and cook paste for 1-2 minutes before adding the milk in stages, continuing to beat thoroughly as you go.

Continue to beat until the milk is all used up and the sauce is smooth and creamy. Add the wine and cream and stir to combine. If the sauce thickens up too much, just add a little more milk to thin it out.

Remove from the heat and add the Pecorino and Parmesan along with a good seasoning of freshly ground black pepper and a small pinch of salt. Cover and keep warm.

Half-fill a large saucepan with boiling salted water, add the macaroni and boil until almost al dente. Drain and drizzle with a little olive oil and season with a little freshly ground black pepper.

Meanwhile, place a large frypan over medium heat, add in 1 tbs olive oil, add the pancetta and cook for 10-12 minutes, tossing often, until golden and crispy and cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel.

Add macaroni to the bechamel sauce along with the cooked pancetta and chopped basil, combine well, pour the contents into a 2.25L baking dish.

Combine breadcrumbs and Pecorino in a bowl, then scatter over the top of the pasta. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Serve with extra grated Pecorino.

* Available from Italian delis; substitute streaky bacon.