How many remember this lovely face? This is another one of my favs, “Barefoot Contessa.” If you watched her cooking show, you would recall the flavourful dishes that she put together with ease and charm. Her voice and demeanor reminds me of another person that I will definitely pay tribute to in the near future, Martha Stewart. Her cuisine inspires many and she is still on television since 2002! Bravo Contessa!
I wanted to share a hearty recipe that I know you “soul food lovers” would enjoy! We are not out of winter yet, so let’s make the best of it. Here’s to, “Grown Up Mac and Cheese,” Contessa-style.
Grown Up Mac and Cheese
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
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
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.
Yes, I know. It has carbs in it. It also has a whole lotta cheese! You could substitute with Cauliflower if you want, but you really take the fun out of it if you do! Make the most out of your night and go bold on a mac and cheese that holds no bars! Specialty cheeses, bacon (optional), and real pasta makes for a perfect grown up dinner. If you happen to partake this week, we would love to see how it turned out. Feel free to post pictures of your dish at the bottom of this segment. This recipe received rave reviews from over 300 people! So, it must be delightful! Happy Tuesday everyone!