Bacon Mac and Cheese

Photo courtesy of Blog Chef
My friends and I have started this book club, and this month I am hosting it at my house.  It’s really more of a “wine” club, or a “gossip” club, or a “amazing food” club than a book club, but we do read, and we do talk about the books… a little!

On the menu for tomorrow: Bacon Mac and Cheese, and mini Wedge Salads!
Since we are meeting on a week night, I’m not going to have the time to whip up a gourmet meal for 10 out of thin air.  That means I’m prepping all the food tonight, so when I get home from work tomorrow, I can throw the mac and cheese into the oven, arrange the salads, and be ready for everyone in no time.
I’m stealing the recipe from Tyler Florence, and it looks absolutely amazing… I’ll get back to you with the verdict tomorrow, but after reading all the reviews, I’m pretty sure it will be a hit!
Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Mac and Cheese:

Ingredients
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 or 3 sprigs thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and divided
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small saucepan heat the milk with the thyme sprigs and 2 garlic cloves. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps from forming. Strain the solids out of the milk and whisk it into the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is nice and smooth. Stir in the 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley and fold that all in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
While that bakes, heat a saute pan. Add the bacon, render the fat and cook until crispy. Add onion, garlic and thyme leaves and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onion. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, scatter the bacon mixture over the mac and cheese. Use a big spoon to scoop out servings, making sure you get some of the smoking bacon mixture on each spoonful.

2 thoughts on “Bacon Mac and Cheese

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