We had a friend over for dinner the other night. I asked him if he had a meal request. He quickly replied, "Mac n Cheese...and BACON!". He'd never eaten it homemade before and bacon on macaroni and cheese sounded bomb, so I accepted the challenge!
Ps. This is a great way to try a new recipe. I always want to but it's hard to get the motivation. So next time you have friends over ask for their input. You'll learn something new and, in turn, make their wildest dreams come true.
I found this cute food blog on Pinterest with great photos and a quirky author – just how I like it. She had several macaroni recipes, one featuring gouda as the star and the other, bacon. I wanted to marry the two (not literally...) but decided I should probably take the safe road and prepare the recipe as follows before making adjustments. Unfortunately, I sunk into my natural tendencies and ended up changing something...
A word to the wise, do NOT add more noodles to the mix. I did, thinking it would soak up the extra sauce and stretch the portions. It may seem like an imbalance between cheese and macaroni, but during the baking segment the two become one (so biblical) and find their perfect balance. So I repeat do NOT add extra noodles.
Besides my mistake of adding more macaroni, the dish was exquisite. Simple and full of flavor, but how could it not be when two of the main ingredients are bacon and cheese. Adding a glass of red wine isn't the worst idea either.
Next time I'm going for the gouda and then I'll try a medley. Stay tuned!
Thank you The View From Great Island for this awesome recipe!
- one 12 oz package of bacon
- 2 cups elbow pasta
- 2 Tbs butter
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 8 oz)
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350
- Cook the bacon until crisp according to your preferred method. I do it in on a baking tray in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes, turning once during the cooking. No spatters, no standing over a spattering pan.
- Drain and cool the bacon, then crumble it up and set aside. I know you will snack on this, so I’ve built in a few extra pieces of bacon to account for it.
- Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water. Cook it until just barely al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a large saucepan melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour. Stir with a whisk or silicone spatula for a minute until smooth. This ‘roux’ will thicken your macaroni sauce.
- Whisk in the milk and heat until the mixture thickens, whisking almost constantly. This will happen as the milk gets close to a simmer.
- Take the pan off the heat, and add in the cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Mix the macaroni into the cheese sauce and stir to combine well. Season to taste with salt and plenty of fresh black pepper.
- Spoon the macaroni into a baking dish, or individual dishes like I’ve done.
- First bake the mac and cheese without the bacon for about 15 minutes. Then top it with lots of crumbly bacon, and put it back in the oven for another 5 or 10 minutes, until hot and bubbly.