Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Heat the milk, bay leaves, peppercorns and onion together until almost boiling. Remove from heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes (while preparing the other ingredients).
In a large pan heat a little oil and fry the bacon until crispy then remove with a slotted spoon. In the same pan, sauté the mushrooms until browned and softened. Add bacon back to the pan and set aside.
Strain the milk. In a medium pot, heat the butter and whisk in the flour making a roux paste (flour and butter) then add the strained milk and whisk continuously until thickened.
When sauce starts to bubble, take off the heat. Add the cheddar cheese and mix until well combined.
Season to taste.
Add the pasta, bacon and mushrooms to the sauce until evenly combined. Season to taste again.
Spoon into a greased medium ovenproof dish and spread out evenly.
Top with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with lots of mozzarella. Season with some black pepper and dried herbs.
Bake for + – 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
Serve with a crisp salad.Recipe reprinted with permission of BitsOfCarey. To see more recipes, click here.