Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stove Top Mac and Cheese

The last few weeks, I have been planning out most of the meals I will be consuming and writing about that week. This has been helping me stay more organized at the grocery store and farmers market and keep a better budget. Somehow, yesterday, I realized that for the rest of the week I only have baked goods on that list (making some treats for some friends). While gabbing with Tony all day yesterday...I mean working, I realized I didn't have any dinners or lunches planned. I have had a serious craving for mac and cheese lately. The weather here in SoCal has been more beach weather than fuzzy sweater weather which is usually when I crave such food, but when I came home last night and and there was a mac and cheese showdown on tv, I knew it was a sign that I had to make the cheesy goodness immediately if not sooner. I love a good baked mac and cheese, and even though it has "cooled down" from 91 to 86, turning on the oven did not sound so awesome. I wanted an easy stove top recipe and a little while ago I had bookmarked this recipe. The best part of it was that you can customize this recipe so many ways. I lurrrrve bacon in my mac and cheese and a little bit of onion and garlic flavor doesn't bother me either. If you are a macaroni and cheese purist, don't do these additions. I had some Fontina cheese leftover from the recipe you will see tomorrow so I used that in this recipe and added some extra-sharp cheddar as well. Measurements aren't super important, as long as the total amount of cheese is around four ounces. This was so creamy and good. Totally easy to prepare and would have been fast if I hadn't added the bacon and shallots. I loved this right out of the pot, but if I must confess, I really like mac and cheese out of the refrigerator as well.

Stove Top Mac and Cheese
(Adapted from Wandering Chopsticks)

6 slices bacon
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
1/2 lb elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Fontina cheese, shredded
Extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Cayenne pepper

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Set the bacon aside to drain on paper towels and crumble when cooled. Drain most of the fat from the pan and add the shallot and garlic. Cook until translucent and lightly season with salt and pepper. Stir the bacon back in to the onion mixture and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large pot add the butter over medium-low heat. When the butter is half melted, add the flour and stir to combine. When the butter is completely melted, add the milk and cook for 5-10 minutes until the mixture has reached the desired thickness.

Add the cheese and a few dashes of cayenne to the bechamel and stir until it has melted. Add the bacon and shallot mixture to the cheese sauce and stir until combined. Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until the pasta is well coated.

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Erica said...

Mac and Cheese seems very popular in the blog world this week! Maybe I should join the Mac and cheese party! I'm so jealous of your warm temps (although its 60 here right now so I'm not allowed to complain ;). Hope you have a wonderful day! Can't wait to read about your baked goods!

Heather said...

mmmmmmmmmm bacon! i love making homemade mac and cheese. i can't stand the boxed stuff anymore. this looks delicious! i throw pancetta in mine, which is pretty much bacon - it really makes everything better, huh?

ttfn300 said...

ooh, mom would always do it on the stovetop, this brings back yummy memories!!

Esi said...

Erica, you should totally jump on the mac and cheese bandwagon.

Heather, bacon is like the ultimate food...well I exaggerate, but you know what I mean :)

Dawn said...

I love bacon in my mac & cheese too girl! Hmmmm.
Wish I could have your weather; it's 34 degrees here. We have 5 more months of this cold. Ugh.

Diana H. said...

I don't think it gets any better than mac and cheese with bacon!

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Move over Kraft! Esi's in town. Esi, one of my most favorite comfort foods is Mac n Cheese...home made. I love this recipe of yours. I will definitely try it. Thank you for a great recipe

Esi said...

Dawn, I am so jealous. Seriously! I want to be bundled up in sweaters.

Thanks Diana and Teresa :)

The Blonde Duck said...

This is my favorite! I love this!

Reeni said...

I have been craving mac 'n' cheese for a few days now. Yours looks terrific, I love bacon in it! I have an award for you. I hope you'll visit my blog and collect it!

Debbie said...

The bacon in the mac and cheese sounds delicious.....I love a good mac and cheese!!!

Foodycat said...

Now I am craving mac & cheese!

Kevin said...

Cheesy past with bacon...mmm...

Paula said...

Love the different types of cheese you used here! I love the idea of a stove top mac and cheese. I'd eat mine with bacon ... ham ... even tuna! YUM!

CECIL said...

I always put bacon or pancetta in my Mac and Cheese too!! The way I see it, anybody who loves real deal Mac and Cheese don't eat it for diet reason - to bacon please!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I love bacon and garlic in my mac and cheese too. Baked mac and cheese is good, but by the time I finish assembling it all on the stove top, I want to eat right away. :)