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Monday, February 11, 2013

Fancy Mac & Cheese

If you like bacon and caramelized onions, this mac and cheese recipe is going to literally blow your mind. It might anyway. It's that good. I've made this a bunch of times, and it is a huge hit every single time. And every single time I have to fight to not just eat everything before I'm done making/baking it!

This isn't my recipe, it's from The Pioneer Woman- see here for original recipe- and I make the same recipe but make a few changes. I use penne pasta instead of macaroni, and I use about 6-7 cups of pasta (2/3-3/4lb.) instead of just 4 cups. I also caramelize the onions a bit longer- do these to taste, if you will. And lastly, the cheese. I have used a bunch of different kinds of cheese in this- I always use the 4 oz. goat cheese but the other 1.5 cups of cheese can be really whatever you like- I've used nice cheddars and hard parmesans and I've also used shredded cheddar out of the bag, all with delicious results. So don't feel like your wallet has to stretch too far for this one- you don't have to use expensive cheese, but do use the goat cheese. It adds a creaminess like nothing else.

But enough talk- let's get to the pictures from my latest batch.

Here's the full arsenal, with hidden salt and pepper shakers in that back right corner. Here you can see what type of cheeses I used and everything.
Cook your pasta as directed, but for about 3/4 of the time.
 Cook your bacon until it changes from this to that!
Slice your onions thinly, the caramelize until they look like...

THIS! A batch of caramelized onions like this takes about 15-20 minutes on low and can make almost any dish fantastic!
Start your roux off with the butter and flour...

Then add your milk and 1/2 and 1/2 and let boil for a few minutes to thicken.

Toss in your 1.5 cups of cheese- this is all cheddar.

Then toss in the goat cheese and wait for the angels to sing!

Add 2/3 of the bacon and caramelized onions and stir well to combine.

Then mix in the pasta and pour into a 9x13'' greased pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 of bacon and onions so they can get nice and crispy! If eating immediately, bake for 30 minutes uncovered. You can also stick it in the fridge at this point and when you bake it later, bake it covered in foil for about 20 minutes, then uncover and bake 20 more minutes.

And at the end of all of these steps you get... heaven. This is heaven in a dish, ladies, gentlemen, and everyone else! Nice and crispy on top with the onions and bacon, and creamy, cheesy, and fantastic on the inside. Dig in!!

I really hope you try this. It'll knock your socks off. If you're accommodating vegetarians, don't put any bacon fat in to do the onions, and use the bacon to garnish instead of baking it in. Or split into two dishes so the omnivores can get the whole package!
Savor it!
love, rue

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