Wednesday, January 13, 2010

MMM MMM MMMac & Cheese!

I still haven't gotten up to my normal pace in the kitchen but couldn't start off the week without cooking. One of my favorite foods is cheese so I figured it would be a great time to make some homemade mac & cheese! Mmm Mmm!

Typically, I throw Velveeta, cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, a little Parmesean and a dash of milk over my noodles, but for a nice little change, I branched out and made Baked Mac & Cheese.

4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
Veggie oil
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Place a baking rack on a sheet pan an arrange bacon in 1 layer on baking rack. Bake for 15
to 20 minutes, until bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease on the pan! Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.
3) Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
4) Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but do not boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 tsp salt and pepper.
5) Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs over macaroni and top with a little Cheddar.
6) Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.

Let cool and enjoy!

I think you'll love the combination of the smokey Gruyere with the tangy bits of blue cheese along with the sharp kick in the Cheddar. You probably wouldn't think these work well together, but trust me (and Ina Garten,) they do!

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