Nice cheesy bubbles, aren't they? Kind of draws you in, calls to you: I am high carb, high fat, and will comfort you.....
Did I mention it was 34C, before the humidity, when I made this? Okay, so sometimes I'm not so bright. But I was in the 'need' for a comfort food and Tyler's Recipe for Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Cheese was calling out to me. I couldn't help it.
I wasn't sure how the kids would feel about the topping of crispy bacon, onions and garlic on their cheese (I totally forgot to add the fresh thyme in), so I put it in a bowl and let them each choose for themselves. Both tried it, but my youngest waited until he was done his pasta and then tried a bit, separate.
The bacon added a nice saltiness to the mac and cheese, as well as a good crunch.
I admit, this tasted better two days afterwards, when it seemed to be cheesier and gooeyer. I like gooey mac and cheese. Now I like gooey mac and cheese with bacon on it.
This is this week's entry for Tyler Florence Fridays, where we pick any Tyler recipe we want and make of it what we will.
Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Cheese
from Tyler Florence
1 pound elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat
4 cups milk
2 or 3 sprigs thyme
4 cloves garlic, smashed and divided (Uhm Tyler, where do the other two go? I just used all 4 here)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar (my cheese was orange and old cheddar, not sharp white, so I added in some Parmesan as well.)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (skipped this, didn't have any)
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
Leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme (oops, forgot this)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small saucepan heat the milk with the thyme sprigs and 2 garlic cloves. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps from forming. Strain the solids out of the milk and whisk it into the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is nice and smooth. Stir in the 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley and fold that all in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
While that bakes, heat a saute pan. Add the bacon, render the fat and cook until crispy. Add onion, garlic and thyme leaves and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onion. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, scatter the bacon mixture over the mac and cheese. Use a big spoon to scoop out servings, making sure you get some of the smoking bacon mixture on each spoonful.