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mac and cheese – suz style

November 25, 2008

I have never made a homemade version of macaroni and cheese that I have liked.  Most of them are too bland, too gluey, too mushy.  Until today.

Here’s a warning:  This macaroni and cheese is very time intensive.  It is the polar opposite of Kraft Dinner’s microwaveable mac ‘n cheese (now what product development guru thought of that concept?).  If you have an hour to prep dinner, this version is for you. 

But hard work creates results.  This mac and cheese is creamy, not gluey.  And it is zingy and not bland.  And, if cooked al dente, it is definitely not mushy. 

This was adapted from a recipe on the Epicurous site.  But I didn’t have many of the ingredients, so I changed it liberally.


Mac and Cheese – Suz Style

Mac and Cheese:
5 pieces of maple bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces
5 mushrooms, sliced
4 green onions, white and green parts diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup whipping cream, 1 cup whole milk
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Dijon mustard
handful of sharp gouda cheese, grated
1/4 cup freshly ground Parmesean
1 cup old white cheddar, grated
1/4 cup Imperial cheese
4 servings of elbow macaroni (I used baby shells)
6 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Crumb topping:
1 cup fresh seasoned breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped chives
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley

Whew, and that’s just the ingredient list.  Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

  • In a deep frying pan, cook bacon until crispy.  Fish out bacon and pat grease off with a paper towel.  Put aside. Keep the grease in the pan.
  • brown the onion, mushrooms and garlic in pan for 5 minutes
  • add the white wine, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and pepper and cook on medium heat until white wine is almost all reduced, for about 10 minutes
  • Add whipping cream and milk and bring to a simmer.  Cook on low for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  • (Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot until al dente.  Strain and put in a casserole dish)
  • Fish out the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  • Add all the cheeses, gradually, stirring until combined after each addition.  Stir in the dijon mustard.
  • Add bacon, chives and parsley and combine with cooked pasta in casserole dish.
  • To make topping, melt butter in fry pan.  Add bread crumbs, remaining chives and parsley and cook for two minutes.  Spread over top of mac n cheese.
  • If you make it ahead of time, put aside.  Then warm in oven for half an hour.  For the last two minutes, put on the broiler to brown the crumb topping.

We ate this with Ella’s coveted Parmesean Chicken.  Which would normally splatter all over my kitchen and my fine self, but now I have a Splatter Screen from Pampered Chef.  (This is not an advertisement for Pampered Chef.  Just a fact.  I do not know why it cost $29 either.  Some things are a mystery).

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