250g dried macaroni
½ cauliflower, trimmed, cut into florets (300g)
250g bacon rashers, rind removed, chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
⅓ cup plain flour
3½ cups light milk
1 cup grated gruyère
100g white castello cheese, crumbled
½ cup finely grated parmesan
2 tbsp thyme leaves – optional, plus extra sprigs, to serve
½ cup sourdough breadcrumbs
1 Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water. Transfer to a colander to drain. Add cauliflower to water and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain into colander with pasta. Return pan to heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Place pasta, cauliflower and bacon in a large bowl.
2 Preheat oven to 200˚C. Melt 60g butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes or until soft. Sprinkle over flour and stir until well combined. Cook for 2 for minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add milk, stirring, until combined. Return saucepan to heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Add gruyère, castello, half the parmesan and thyme. Stir until cheese has melted. Add to pasta. Stir. Transfer to a large baking dish.
3 Melt remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cool. Add breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over pasta mixture with remaining parmesan and thyme sprigs. Bake for 20 minutes or until topping is golden and macaroni is heated through. Serve.