Conquering and Refining
the Mac & Cheese!
Without all the bells & whistles … that’s up to you.
Serve as a rich and decadent side dish, as the ultimate brunch with a poached egg...
Or as a succulent entree with Soft Shell Crabs.
A thousand ways to make Mac & Cheese… This luscious version is rich & creamy, light & fluffy, slightly smoky, and served with anything you dream off. This is not your grandparent’s Mac & Cheese, and it’s clearly not Velveeta. This is not made with Truffles, though it’s certainly just as gorgeous, elegant, and beautiful enough to stand alone.
Total Time: 45-1 hour Difficulty: Intermediate Flavor: Gorgeous Serving Size: 6 entree / 12 side dish
*This is a great dish to serve as assemble - or can up to 2 days later.
** Preheat oven *400
- 4 cups Elbow / Macaroni Noodle - cook until Al Dente in Salty water!
- 6 pieces Smoked Bacon - cooked
- 2 cups Milk (sub ½ cup for ½ cup cream for super rich, but no more)
- 2 Egg Yolks - toss whites
- ½ lb grated Sharp Cheddar (reserve ¼ cup for topping)
- ¼ lb grated Smoked Gouda
- ¼ lb grated Parmesan (reserve handful for topping)
- 1 oz Brandy or Spiced Rum
- ¼ cup Chives or Scallions (green parts only) chopped
- 2 tsp Butter -Room Temperature. & more to grease casserole dish
- 2 tsp Flour
- 1 tsp Mustard
- 2 cloves Garlic - minced
- 1 tsp White Pepper (or smoked Paprika)
- ½ tsp Nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp Salt - or to taste, plus more for boiling noodles.
- ½ Cup bread crumbs from crackers
Start with Mise…
Shred your cheese, measure everything out, because it should go fairly fast once you start your Bechamel.
Cook bacon, drain excess grease, chop to bite size pieces.
Boil noodles in Salty water until fairly Al Dente - run under cold water after straining to stop cooking process.
1 - Make the Roux - Blonde.
- In Sauce Pan mash the Butter & Flour until light paste. Turn heat on over Med- Low to warm.
2 - Add milk and turn up the heat to high, whisking until smooth, never stopping to let the bottom burn. Once starts to foam - lower heat to Medium High while whisking vigorously until thick as a sauce. Drop heat to Low immediately.
Keep going until thick.
3 - Add salt, Nutmeg, White Pepper, Mustard, Garlic.
4- Add the cheese in increments - Whisk until melted. (don’t forget save some for topping.) ** If you’re sauce is getting too hot, pull off heat as not to burn!
5 - Turn off heat once Cheese is melted in. Stir in Brandy, Bacon, & Chives.
6 - Fold in Yolks, stir gently to mix. This will turn it very luscious and will coat noodles gorgeously!
7 - Pour and stir Sauce into cold noodles. Taste for salt now.
7 - Butter up Casserole Pan.
8 - Pour in Mac & Cheese and level top. It’s better for the mac to be spread out in a shallow casserole pan rather than a deep dish because it may turn mushy, plus the toppings are a great spread out.
9 - Top with crushed cracker crumbs, then sprinkle evenly around the remainder of cheese.
10 - Cover in Foil.
** If you’re cooking now in full - Cook 10 minutes - remove foil, cook another 10 minutes… or until it looks like this...
*It is best to let sit for 10-15 minutes before breaking into or serving to let the cheese sauce thicken back up!
Again this is a stunning dish for summer or any weather really… the Soft Shell Crabs of summer with the spice of Old Bay really complement each other. Of course as a side dish, or after a hangover - it’s the most perfect of brunches to bring you back to that happy place!
You can get as adventurous as you’d like, add whatever you want, serve with ever you would like… but this way, is simply perfection.
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