Monday, September 3, 2012

Grown Up Mac & Cheese

In an effort to get all of  us girlfriends together, my friend Kim had a potluck. There were eight girlies who attended and each person brought either an appetizer, entree, side dish, or dessert.  Kim, the gracious host that she is, provided a delicious pineapple Salmon entree. Since I volunteered to provide the other entree, I knew I needed something portable and tasty.  My answer?  Grown Up Mac & Cheese which I found on by Ina Garten.  The minute I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it, Blue Cheese, Gruyere, Cheddar and BACON...YUM! I was ordered by my friends to put this recipe on the blog as it was a huge hit along with the delicious Salmon. I learned Mac & Cheese doesn't have to be from a blue box, but you can make a sophisticated, delightful dish to accompany something as fancy schmancy as Salmon. Cheers!

Ingredients (taken from from Ina Garten recipes) 

Serves 2 (** Double the recipe to serve 4**)

  • 4 ounces thick-sliced bacon (I used  Canadian Bacon)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi  (Cava what?? I used elbows...)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk ( I used whole Milk)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
BreadCrumbs   (I took the easy route and used store bought bread crumbs :) )
  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed 
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves 


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

I turned away for a split second... I guess Diesel liked it too!