Its chilly, its damp, its time.....for Mac & Cheese.
Being an Italian who grew up in the South, there is a special place in my heart for both comfort food and pasta.
When the weather turns, I just can't ignore my hankering for this rich and luscious recipe.
I hope it wraps you up in a blanket of warm deliciousness......
Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon Crust
1/2 lb. pasta - any type you like
5 TBSP unsalted butter
4 TBSP Flour
3 Cups Whole Milk
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 TSP Dijon Mustard
3 Cups grated cheddar cheese
1/3 Cup Crumbled Bacon
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 2 QT baking dish and set aside. Cook pasta in well-salted boiling water until VERY al dente (5 minutes or so - it will cook further in the oven). Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well again and set aside.
Melt 5 TBSP butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk rapidly over medium heat for a couple of minutes to cook the flour and smooth the mixture (be careful not to let it burn).
Gradually add in milk, whisking constantly until thick and smooth, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, Dijon mustard and cheese - stir well.
Add cooked pasta to buttered dish...
Add cheese sauce to pasta, stir to coat...
Top with sprinkling (or two) of crumbled bacon.
Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes - then broil to brown the top.
You can use a combination of any good melting cheese
- Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Fontina, Gruyere, Velveeta (Hey, I'm no snob!)
The bacon topping can be replaced with bread crumbs
- Mix some Panko breadcrumbs with melted butter and sprinkle over mac& cheese before baking for a fabulously crunchy crust.