Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fancy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This past weekend Trey and I went back up to my hometown to have lunch with my sweet family.  They only live 30 minutes away but my chances to get to see them all at once are few and far between due to everyone's crazy schedules.  Like most families, when we get together we just want good 'ole comfort food.

Biscuits?  Check.  Green Beans?  Check.  Macaroni and cheese?  Well, my grandmother normally makes this, but she was tied up that morning so I told her I would take the dish over for her.  I scoured the internet looking for a great, fool-proof recipe and finally settled on one from The Pioneer Woman.  I always love her dishes, and really, how hard can it be to mess up macaroni and cheese?

This isn't your traditional macaroni and cheese, as it uses a blend of cheese and also adds in bacon and onions to richen the flavor.  But since I had those cracklings left over from my homemade lard that I featured yesterday I decided to use those in place of bacon.

Dig in!!

PS So sorry for the less than plentiful collection of pictures (okay, there's only one) in this post.  I was whipping this dish up in a hurry and didn't have enough time to take the kind of pics I wanted :(

Fancy Macaroni and Cheese courtesy of The Pioneer Woman
4 C macaroni
8 Tbsp butter (salted butter this time)
2 medium onions, cut in half and sliced thin
10 slices regular bacon
1 Tbsp bacon grease (reserved from bacon drippings)
1/4 C all purpose flour
2 C milk (whole or 2%)
1/2 C half and half
2 whole egg yolks, beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 C grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 C grated Fontina cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar)
1/2C grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
4 oz soft goat cheese

***I would like to add that while I LOVED the flavor of this recipe, I would have made more of the cheese/milk mixture (or I guess you could reduce the amount of macaroni pasta you added).  I like my mac and cheese really creamy and this was a bit "dry" for me.  Not bad in the least, but just something to note.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook macaroni for half time recommended on box (or until it's almost done, but not quite).  Drain and set aside.

Fry bacon until just crispy.  Set aside on paper towels and reserve grease.

Melt 4 Tbsp butter in skillet and saute onions over medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes, or until onions are slightly brown and soft.  Set aside.

In pot melt 4 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp reserve bacon grease.  Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine.  Stir constantly over medium heat for 1 minute.  Pour in milk and half and half and cook for 3-5 minutes until thickened.  Reduce heat to low.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Beat egg yolks and temper them by pouring 1/4 C hot milk mixture into egg yolks, stirring constantly until combined.  Pour egg yolk mixture into milk mixture.  Cook for 1 additional minute.

Add cheeses and stir until melted and combined.  Add onion and bacon.  Stir.  Add cooked macaroni and toss to coat.  Add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Pour into baking dish and bake 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbling.

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