Neapolitan fondue

by Bee Wilson

Part macaroni cheese, part cheese soufflé, adapted from Alexis Soyer (1851)

Read Bee’s exploration of the history of the Neapolitan fondue


300g macaroni
100g butter
100g flour
800ml milk
170g grated cheese, any combination (I used 100g single gloucester and 70g parmesan)
½ tsp salt
Cayenne pepper to taste
5 eggs, separated


Preheat the oven to 190C and butter two baking dishes or soufflé dishes.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions; drain and set aside.

Make a béchamel: melt the butter, add the flour, stirring very well and then add a little milk, stirring constantly (curiously, Soyer says to make the béchamel without melting the butter). When it is smooth, add more milk in increments. Continue to stir for 10 mins (Soyer says 20) until the flour has cooked out. Stir in the yolks, salt and cayenne, then whisk in the grated cheese. Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce.

Whisk the whites in a fresh large bowl until very stiff. Take a third of the white and mix into the macaroni mixture. Now fold the rest of the whites in thoroughly but without losing too much of the air. Pour it into the buttered baking dishes and bake for 30 mins (for a shallow dish) or 40-45 mins for a soufflé dish. Eat with asparagus.