Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ina's Grown Up Mac and Cheese

It's Barefoot Blogger day, and time to post the recipe I wrote about in the last post. This week's recipe was chosen by Heather of Randomosity and the Girl (cute name for a site). This group has been so much fun so far. We only have to post twice a month (with a third post optional), and I love the recipes of Ina's that have been selected. Really puts a little more variety in things and is one idea for a meal I don't have to come up with! Again, if you want to check it out, you can go here to see what is coming up for the month as well as the musings of the members. So, on to the recipe.

Heather's choice was Ina's Grown up Mac and Cheese from the episode Home Comforts. Wow, was this good. I followed the recipe word for word with a few exceptions, I used a sprouted 7-grain bread and celentani pasta. I never have white bread in the house, try to keep the whole grain, healthy stuff around. The bread keeps well in the freezer, so I had it on hand. The nutty flavor of the bread was really nice against the rich creamy cheeses.

I shopped ingredients on a trip to Trader Joe's and celentani was the closest thing to elbow pasta that they had. Whole wheat pasta would have been my choice if I could have found any, but as you can see from the picture, the ridges on the pasta really worked nicely. The sauce had lots of little spaces to cling to. Also, on that trip, I purchased the cheeses (TJ's cheese prices are so reasonable!) . For this mac and cheese I used a Swiss, Kaltbach cave-aged Gruyere, a Wisconsin, white extra sharp cheddar, and crumbled Salem blue cheese. They had a nice, thick, applewood bacon, so I picked that up as well. When I baked it off for the recipe, I added a few extra slices to cook at the same time. We had those in a cobb salad the next night. I really liked the smokey, fruity taste of the bacon with the cheese in the dish. One thing I did not add was more salt. Taste the sauce first, after you have all the ingredients together. I felt it was salty enough.

Notes: Make this when you have a bit of time, you will need it. Grate the cheese in the food processor to save time and wash dishes as you go so you will not be overwhelmed with the pile you have at the end!

Grown Up Mac and Cheese
serves 2-4
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups celentani pasta
1 1/2 cups reduced fat 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
Pinch nutmeg
2 slices sprouted 7-grain bread
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer. 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, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into baking dish.

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.


kat said...

It looks so good. Grown up mac & cheese is one of our favorite dishes to play around with

Melissa said...

LOL - I used the EXACT same ingredients...LOVE TJ's!

Cynthia's Blog said...

I wish mine were as creamy as yours. I did use Pankow crumbs, maybe they sucked it dry. Very good photos

Suzie said...

Yours looks delicious and I love your photos. Great recipe wasn't it?

Prudy said...

This looks so delicious. I love that lost shot. I feel like making it again.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that looks lovely. I'm all about the whole grain stuff too. I wish we had a Trader Joes around here... it sounds like such a great store.

Christine said...

I love Trader Joes and wish one would come to my area. Your mac and cheese looks delicious and I love all the pics!

Debinhawaii said...

Oh you don't know how I MISS TJs!!!! I fear they will never come here. We did get out first Whole Foods yesterday (not that it helps with the prices but it increased the selction by a lot. Your mac & cheese looks wonderful!

recipes2share said...

This is great & how we all love mac cheese here too!

Natashya said...

We have neither Whole Foods or Trader Joes and, let me tell you - I am feeling left out!
Your topping is so golden brown and crispy looking, delish.

Foodycat said...

That looks delicious! And what amazing cheeses you used.

Esi said...

Looks wonderful! I got all my stuff at TJs too. That really helped with the cost.

Gloria Chadwick said...

Kim, Your Mac and Cheese looks sooo good! Just wanted to let you know that you're featured today on Cookbook Cuisine. :)

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Excellent post. You can't go wrong with Mac n Cheese. I love the stuff. Saw your spotlight on Gloria's blog. Congratulations. Great blog.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Look at that bacon! This makes my mouth water!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That looks phenomenal! I just love TJ's cheeses - boy do I miss having one nearby! :)

Sarah said...

I think I just found my first cold weather favorite this year.. thanks !

vermilion girl said...

Hi Kim. It's Tina, Frank's girlfrield.(from Bill's work)
Your site is amazing. MORE Hello Kitty & Larry! Don't leave Bunny out. I follow your site every week day. Great content and pics. LUVS IT!!!

Kimi said...

Wow, thanks for all the great comments! I must give the credit to Ina, what a great recipe! For those of you without TJ's, it is a sad thing. I have to drive 40 minutes to get to the nearest one, but it is sooo worth it.
Thanks to all for reading this blog ( esp. you, vermilion girl!).

Michele said...

I haven't made mac and cheese in ages. Your's look delicious! I love the idea of adding bacon. That would make my Phil very, very happy. He will eat bacon with anything. I was looking at your profile ans see that we share the same favorite movie! I think I'll have to dig it out tonight and give it a watch.