September 11, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers- Grown Up Mac and Cheese

This week for Barefoot Bloggers, Heather chose Grown Up Mac and Cheese. I was really exciting since I love making homemade mac and cheese and I'm always looking for the perfect recipe. I did get a little nervous at the sight of the blue cheese and when I asked everyone else they said they'd prefer it without the blue. So, I subbed in a big of extra cheddar and some fresh Parmesan. The sauce came together quickly and tasted wonderful out of the pan. I did lessen the nutmeg since I just can't stand the taste (although I like the flavor complexity it adds to dishes, I just don't like to actually taste it!) For the bread crumbs, I used some Whole Wheat Sun Dried Tomato Basil Bread from Whole Grain Bread Co (which you should check out if you live in AZ, they have the best breads!)

In the end, I think I would have preferred a little more sauce and a little less noodle, but I loved the bacon and the basil in the pasta. The flavor was amazing and it's always fun to try a new pasta dish. Next time, I'll include a little grated onion with the roux and maybe try adding some fontina. And I'm sure, whatever recipe I use, I'll include some bacon and basil!

Grown Up Mac and Cheese

Recipe from Ina Garten
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.


  1. Your bread sounds amazing - I wish we could get that here. The crumbs must have been delicious. Yum yum!

  2. I am with you on the sauce- it was delicious! I can't wait to try the apple turnovers- I am so glad you picked a dessert (I know, as if I don't bake enough already, but I am still excited) :)

  3. Those crumbs make it look extra appealing. I like more sauce also, so my little trick is to cook it for a lot shorter time so the noodles don't absorb it all. Those apple turners do sound deelish and I hope I can squeeze the in.

  4. Oh yum, yours look delicious! The bread you used for the crumb topping sounds amazing. I can't wait to make the apple turnovers you picked out, thanks for a great choice that I'm sure we will love as a 'welcome to fall' treat :)

  5. I am glad I am a grown up so I can enjoy this mac and cheese:) The sauce sounds so good!

  6. Your mac-and-cheese looks definitely can use whatever cheese you like or have around the house for this one.

  7. Anne, I should have checked with you first to see how you were doing it, because the parm-for-blue trade was absolutely the way to go, in my opinion! The blue dominated it for us, and removed the flavor complexity. It just tasted like macaroni&blue cheese to us! Your picture is gorgeous, as always. And thanks in advance for the apple turnovers!

  8. I have that same thing about baked mac and cheese. It always seems to get that overcooked, dry feel to me. I just don't bake it anymore. If you liked the sauce, why not just mix it up and eat it?

    Oh. And that bread? Oh. My. That sounds good.

  9. Those gorgonzola crumbs make me craving. It sounds delicious.

  10. Oh that bread sounds delicious and must have brought this dish to a new level. Thanks for picking the turnovers (already did them) can't wait to post about them!

  11. Yum! It is beautiful! We love Mac and Cheese at our house...this is a staple...but not too often, it is so rich! I love Ina !

  12. The bread sounds like it made incredible topping and your mac & cheese looks beautiful. I like blue cheese but your cheese mixture sounds delicious too.
    Great job!

  13. Oh, Mac & Cheese! It looks so appetizing. And more cheese sauce than noodles would never be a bad thing.

  14. I wanted more sauce, too, but this was a fun recipe. Made the apple turnovers last night. OMG–yum!

  15. Talk about yummy! I could handle eating half of this myself. Mac and cheese is my total weakness!

  16. Yours look fantastic! I'll have to see if I can order some of the bread - it sounds yummy! Thanks for the tip :)

  17. After some blog surfing i found your blog and now my mouth is watering! that mac and cheese looks YUMMY!!!! your bread sounds soo good too!

  18. Oh Anne that looks so amazing. I love the sound of your bread topping...mmmm...I wish I had a plate of this now!

  19. That bread sounds so great! I bet it added a nice flavor to the mac. I agree with you about nutmeg. I don't like the taste of it either, but it does add another dimension to the dish.