Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Grown-Up Mac and cheese

I just joined the barefoot bloggers, a group of foodie bloggers who all make two Barefoot Contessa recipes each month and post them. I am very excited to join! I like the fact that someone else picks a recipe and you make it. Seems like a great way to try new things and make things you might not pick yourself.
This first recipe (for me) is a delicious mac and cheese with a more grown-up cheese taste. I enjoyed the blue cheese, there wasn't too much to be overpowering. My husband and I both had to have seconds of this. We loved this meal with green beans and a very oaky chardonnay.
The modifications I made were to use panko bread crumbs instead of slices of white bread and I used nitrate-free bacon which unfortunately does not come thick-sliced. I just feel a lot better eating bacon that is more natural.
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 1/2 cups 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
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.

Just out of the oven....ymm

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Melissa said...

Welcome! We ate ours with green beans too!

Suzie said...

Yours looks delicious. I loved it too. Hope you enjoy the group!

Prudy said...

That looks wonderful. I did the pank crumbs too.

Summer said...

I used panko crumbs too. Welcome to the group!

Melissa said...

Yum Yum! I found your recipe via PW's comment section and I'm glad I did! I love Ina; she's such a doll. :) Keep on creating her food magic!