Thursday, September 11, 2008

Barefoot Blogger

I have been so wrapped up in the whole New York thing that I have been shirking a lot of other responsibilities....namely cooking....just ask Carly....I don't know when the last time was she got a "home cooked" meal.  So I'm doing my daily internet browsing and I wonder over to Barefoot Bloggers and realize that I have an assignment due TODAY.   Uh oh.   It's 3:00pm and I've been at a tennis match most of the day and then a leisurely lunch with friends....blah, blah, blah....shit, I need to make "Grown-up Mac and Cheese"

So I call my local guinea pigs (Donna and Luke) and see if they're game (they are) and head out to Fresh Market to get ingredients (then to the ABC store for Vodka, cuz Donna will kill me if I don't have Vodka...again.)

Luckily, this is one of Ina's recipe's that I have made in the past, so I'm quasi familiar.  Again, luckily, Mr. B's not home because he didn't particularly like it the first time around!!  The one thing I don't remember from the cookbook recipe vs. the online recipe is the bread crumb part....and that would be the part that I would eliminate the next time around.  While it made the dish aesthetically pleasing, it totally dried out the top part.  I would not add the bread crumbs the next time.

The only other criticism came from the Southern boy that preferred "orange" cheese macaroni....some people you just can get out of the box.  He declared the taste an "8", but wanted it to be orange.....whatev.  The girlfriend of the Southern boy, however, liked the "new" cheese macaroni...combination of gruyere, sharp white cheddar, and gorganzola.....not your typical "Southern" mac and cheese.

I will say that the bacon made a nice addition and everyone loved that....I used applewood smoked bacon!!!

Here's the recipe..

"Grown Up Mac and Cheese"

4 oz thick-sliced bacon
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
4 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
3 oz extra-sharp cheddar, grated
2 oz blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 tbsp freshly chopped basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in one 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, one teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well.  Pour into two 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.

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