Macaroni gratin by Paul Bocuse
============================== 2023-07-18

"It's a simple recipe, very easy to make and very effective. Of course, do not be afraid to eat cream and butter ... You can do lighter, but you will lose! "Paul Bocuse".

Inspired from : Gratin de macaronis à 8'20"

Comment: There are several versions of this recipe by Paul Bocuse, either made on television or published in cookbooks. Most are less extravagant in pure fat content than the one in the video above, like, for instance the one described here. As the cooking of the pasta ends in the oven, cook it initially in salted water for 4 minutes less than indicated on the package. For cooking milk, Bocuse suggests buttering the bottom of the pan so that the milk does not stick to the pan, I tried, without result! One option, apparently not retained by Bocuse, is to add some of the grated cheese in the béchamel, it's up to you, I prefer with it. On the North American continent, why not replace the gruyère with a good cheddar. Finally, a small additional touch would be to add pieces of ham, or possibly grilled lardons in the mixture before placing in the oven. However, in North America, lardons are almost impossible to find, so I use bacon cut thick, cut in lardons. However, when cooking, it loses nearly half of its weight in water, so use double the weight. Once the flour and the butter for the roux are well mixed, be sure to cook it at least 2 minutes (no browning) before adding the milk, otherwise the finished dish will have a pronounced taste of flour.

4 people


250 g macaroni or elbow macaroni
670 ml milk
55 g butter
40 g flour
300 g whole heavy cream (at least 35%) - no less
180+ g gruyère (or other tasty cheese)
200 g diced bacon or 250 g diced ham (opt)
1 garlic clove
2 sage leaves (opt)
S + P


Cut the bacon into lardons or dice the ham (opt)
Measure 670 ml of milk
Measure 60 g of butter and 45 g of flour
Prepare 2 sage leaves (opt)
1 pot with ~2.5 l salt water
250 of pasta (elbow macaroni, macaroni)
Grate all the cheese
Measure 300 g of cream
1 garlic clove

Here we go:

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Rub a gratin dish with the crushed garlic clove, then butter the dish.
If using lardons, brown them in a pan, and set aside on a paper towel.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for four minutes less than recommended for al-dente on the packaging.
In a saucepan, pour the milk, add 1 teapoon of salt and 2 sage leaves (opt), heat up.
Drain the pasta and add it to the boiling milk, continue cooking for 3 minutes, then drain it again in a colander placed on a container to collect the milk. Eliminate the sage.
Rinse the pan and melt the butter in it.
Then pour the flour and whisk and cook the roux for at least 2 minutes, over low heat.
Pour in the milk, pepper (enough) and grate a little nutmeg (1/2 nut), beat and stir until thick. Remove from fire.
Add 3/4 of the grated cheese and all the cream and stir well.
Add the macaroni and ham or bacon and mix well.
Pour the pasta mixture in the dish.
Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.
Put in the oven and cook ~30 minutes rather near the top of the oven to slightly brown.
Remove from the oven and let stand 15 minutes before serving.