To cook the macaroni, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add in the pasta and stir well for the first minute to prevent clumping. Cook according to the length of time recommended on the packet until al dente, or firm to the bite. Drain well in a colander and drizzle with olive oil and shake to prevent clumping.
To make the cheese sauce, gently heat the milk, onion and bay leaves in a pot. Do not boil.
In another pot, gently melt the butter before adding in the flour to form a thick paste called a roux. Stir well for a minute before gradually ladling in the warm milk.
Allow the sauce to barely come to the boil before turning off and adding in a grating of nutmeg, the mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cheese and mix quickly while hot to melt the cheese.
Cook the bacon lardons in a frying pan until crispy and golden. Drain on some kitchen paper.
In a large baking dish or small individual dishes, layer up the macaroni cheese.
Begin with a layer of cheesy macaroni. Then pour over a passata and add some cherry tomato halves and season. Repeat. Scatter over the crispy bacon and the remaining cheese.
Bake at 200’C for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and bubbling.