Sunday, January 17, 2010

#14 Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon

Yesterday I took out my new favourite cookbook from the library, The River Cottage Family Cookbook.  For now, I'll only get this book for a couple of weeks so I wasted no time in making their version of mac and cheese.



This was basic (with the exception of a bay leaf added to the sauce) and yummy.  I think the taste really depends on the quality of cheese and bacon used.  The book recommends serving this with generous hunks of crusty bread.  That would have been too over the top for me.  This was delish as is.



macaroni, 2 cups
smoked bacon slices, 8
milk, 3 cups
unsalted butter, 3 T plus extra for greasing the dish
all-purpose flour, 3 T
a bay leaf
sharp cheddar cheese, 6 oz
Parmesan cheese, 2 oz
cayenne pepper, 1/4 t
salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees farenheit.

2. Fill a large pan three-quarters full with water and put it on high heat to boil.

3. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat until the milk is hot but not quite boiling.  Pour the hot milk into a pitcher and keep it standing by.

4. Put the butter in the medium saucepan and melt over low heat.  As soon as it's melted, add the flour.  Turn upu the heat a little.  Stir the flour and butter with the wooden spoon to make a thick paste.  Keep stirring from it for a minute or two while it sizzles gently.

5. Pour in about a quarter of the hot milk and stir it carefully into the roux.  Gradually add the rest of the milk and keep whisking gently until it's all thoroughly mixed in.  Add the bay leaf.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn the heat down low.  Let the sauce gently simmer and blip bubbles for about 5 minutes.  Stir every minute or so just to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Meanwhile, shred the cheddar and grate the Parmesan, keeping them separate.  Grease the ovenproof dish with plenty of butter.

6. Season the sauce very well with the cayenne pepper, a good grinding of black pepper, and a generous sprinkling of salt.  Add the shredded Cheddar cheese to the sauce and stir well.

7. When the water starts to boil, add 2 T of salt and the macaroni and cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the time it says on the package.  Drain.

8. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir them together until thoroughly combined.  Pour the cheesy macaroni into the oven proof dish.  Spread evenly and sprinkle it with the grated Parmesan.

9. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese on top has turned golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.  Meanwhile grill or fry the bacon until brown and crisp, turning it once half way through cooking.

Serves 4.

adapted from the The River Cottage Family Cookbook.

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