Sunday, September 13, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

6 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp vegetable oil
1 lb small elbow macaroni
2 tbsp and 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/4 tsp freshly ground black (or white pepper)
1/2 lb smoked gouda cheese, grated (or 1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese)
6 oz bacon, chopped

Cooking Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the water, 1/2 tsp of salt, and oil in a large, heavy saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook — stirring occasionally, until tender for about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water — set aside.

In a large sauté pan cook bacon until crispy for about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside. In a small-heavy saucepan — melt 2 tbsp of the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook — stirring constantly — for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Add the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and pepper and continue whisking until the sauce is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes. Remove the white sauce from the heat and stir in the 6 oz of the cheese. Add the bacon. Continue stirring until the cheese melts.

Lightly grease a 6 1/2 x 10 inch dish casserole dish with the remaining 1/2 tsp. butter. Combine the cheese sauce, macaroni, and bacon in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Taste and season , if necessary. Pour into the prepared casserole and sprinkle remaining 2-oz cheese on top. Bake until lightly golden on top, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

We found this recipe here.

Laura's Macaroni and Cheese

I don't understand how I never knew about homemade macaroni and cheese.  I mean, I knew it could be made, but it seemed silly when all I need to do was add milk, butter and a cheesy powder to some macaroni.  And let's talk about the bacon.  I don't even LIKE bacon.  I've always felt like the place for bacon was on a BLT and little else.  Well, let's add mac and cheese to the list of places where I will always want to see bacon. 

I did make some changes.  I used all the gouda in the sauce and topped the casserole with extra shredded cheese.  Then, to make it really perfect, I sprinkled beautiful panko bread crumbs on top of that. 

Now, when I think of the perfect macaroni and cheese, I imagine a gooey mess.  It might be the Italian in me that wants to see the cheese melted and stringy as the mac and cheese goes from the casserole to the dish.  Whatever it is, I didn't feel I could accomplish that by drying it out in the oven.  My answer to that was to combine everything as directed and then broil it until the panko bread crumbs browned.  It was a perfect plan.  The only problem, it still needed more cheese.  Other than that, I'll never eat macaroni and cheese out of a box again and you shouldn't either.

Meredith's Macaroni and Cheese (TWO WAYS)

Alright, alright..... I've made macaroni and cheese a THOUSAND times. I mean- I live in Virginia- Hello!! It's a Thanksgiving staple. But I have NEVER made Patti Labelle's Over the Rainbow Macaroni & Cheese. It is HANDS DOWN the best mac & cheese I've ever eaten/made. That's saying a lot. I pitted it against the Emeril recipe above and Patti wins!! PLUS bacon went into both! Did you hear me? I said bacon!

All 4 stove eyes going, I accomplished macaroni & cheese two ways. Both delicious. However, Patti's recipe will now become mine around November. (Oh- and I posted two pics because, you know, it's mac and cheese TWO WAYS!)

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