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Creamy, Crispy Mac & Cheese
(simply double everything for more)
|2||cups||Large Elbow Macaroni (measure uncooked)|
|3||tbls||Unsalted Butter (diced)|
|2||lbs||Extra Sharp Vermont White Cheddar Cheese (shredded)|
|2||cups||Whole Milk (hot)|
|1||tsp||Fresh Grated Nutmeg|
|1||tsp||Fresh White Pepper|
|1||tsp||Sweet Hungarian Paprika|
|3||strips||Apple Smoked Bacon|
|2||tbls||Unsalted Butter (melted)|
|½||cup||Panko Bread Crumbs|
|½||cup||Parmigiano Reggiano (micro planed)|
First, grill or bake the bacon, drain and blot. Chop bacon nearly into crumbs and set aside.
Second, cook macaroni in salt water completely (follow package directions). When done add the diced butter while still hot.
Third, while the macaroni is cooking grate the Cheddar cheese.
Mix panko, parmigiano, butter and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the 3 tbls butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth.
This is where you make or break the whole dish. The milk must be hot to avoid lumps, and must be added quickly, little by little, to avoid curdling which would give it a gritty texture.
Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, season with the salt and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low... just enough to melt the cheese you're adding. Add cheese approximately one cup at a time, mixing thoroughly as you go. As soon as you add the last cup of cheese remove the sauce from the heat entirely.
Preheat oven to 400º.
Add macaroni to the cheese sauce and mix thoroughly. Pour mac & cheese into your baking dish. Sprinkle bacon evenly over top then cover with parmigiano and panko mixture.
Bake or Broil uncovered just long enough to brown the topping.