I was a vegetarian for a while in college, and the thing that tripped me up was bacon. I don't even think of it as a meat. I mean, it's closer to kettle chips or caramel corn than it is to a chicken breast. You have to admit, it's in a category all its own.
This is my classic macaroni and cheese. It's the base for any elaborations I do over the years. It's good, it's honest, it's straightforward and easy to make. If you can remember the number 2, you can make this, because everything comes in handy denominations of 2.
Bacon Crusted Mac and Cheese
oven to 350
one 12 oz package of bacon
- Cook the bacon until crisp according to your preferred method. I do it in on a baking tray in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes, turning once during the cooking. No spatters, no standing over a spattering pan.
- Drain and cool the bacon, then crumble it up and set aside. I know you will snack on this, so I've built in a few extra pieces of bacon to account for it.
- Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water. Cook it until just barely al dente. Drain and set aside.
2 Tbsp flour
- In a large saucepan melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour. Stir with a whisk or silicone spatula for a minute until smooth. This 'roux' will thicken your macaroni sauce.
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 8 oz)
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Whisk in the milk and heat until the mixture thickens, whisking almost constantly. This will happen as the milk gets close to a simmer.
- Take the pan off the heat, and add in the cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Mix the macaroni into the cheese sauce and stir to combine well. Season to taste with salt and plenty of fresh black pepper.
- Spoon the macaroni into a baking dish, or individual dishes like I've done.
- First bake the mac and cheese without the bacon for about 15 minutes. Then top it with lots of crumbly bacon, and put it back in the oven for another 5 or 10 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
- Flip the top off a cold beer, turn on the game/news/Homeland/QVC...whatever floats your boat, and offer up a silent prayer to me for posting this today.
- You're welcome, in advance :)
What can I say? It was good.
Disclaimer: Even though I love it, I hardly ever buy bacon. The thing is, it isn't that good for you. But I say, on the odd occasion that you do buy it, use it in a big way, like this. ;)