So I was out in le Texas visiting CPBF, who happens to be pretty awesome.
We went and stalked the longhorns.
And some cows.
Then we went to Hullabaloos. And Freebirds.
Like I said, pretty awesome.
So I made CPBF some epic macaroni and cheese. With bacon.
Because everything is better with bacon.
I wasn’t as much of a food pornographer as I normally am (probably too many mojitos and
stalking hanging out with CPBF out at the grill…) but I still think it looks good.
And did I mention I wasn’t cooking on home turf? Always. Intimidating.
Here’s the deal. You melt the butter, whisk in the flour. (No whisk? Use a fork.) This is the ‘roux’ part which you need to thicken stuff up. Add in the milk, and cook over medium-low heat…until it thickens up. Make sure you keep stirring. Patience people!
Then, add in the cheddar & gruyere cheese, and whisk until smooth.
While the whole milk-thickening business is going on, boil some water for the pasta.
DO NOT add olive oil to the water. Hugest myth in pasta making. Oil will coat the pasta, and prevent your sauce from sticking to it. Do not add olive oil. Just some salt.
When you drain the pasta, reserve some of the cooking water – in case you need it to loosen up the sauce. (I doubt you will, but justin, justin case…)
So, after you drain the pasta, mix it with the cheese sauce, and pour into a baking dish. Top with the bacon, some more cheese, and 15 minutes later, epic mac and cheese.
I always put a cookie sheet under the pan while baking, in case stuff bubbles over.
Not going to lie, this was pretty awesome sauce. (and I don’t say that about everything I make, just some things.)
Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon Recipe:
- 8 – 12 oz. dry pasta, preferably elbows or similar shape
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar, grated
- 1 1/2 cups gruyere, grated
- 6 – 8 slices applewood smoked bacon
Preheat the oven to 375F. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces, and cook until crisp. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add in the whole milk, whisking continually. Continue whisking until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Add in all of the gruyere and 2 cups of the cheddar. Stir until melted.
When you start the butter, put on a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cook until al dente and drain, reserving some of the cooking water. When the cheese sauce is ready, mix together the cheese sauce and the pasta, and pour into a casserole dish. Top with the bacon, and remaining 1/2 cup grated cheddar. Bake at 375F for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.