Gourmet Mac and Cheese for a Friend
The last of my food gifts is a little more elaborate, but sometimes food is the perfect gift for someone who has everything. I made this for the husband of my best friend. Like my husband, he is impossible to buy for. I think this is going to be one of my best gifts this year. My friend can’t eat dairy, and Mac and Cheese is her husbands’ favorite food. The fact that she makes it for him makes her a saint in my eyes, I never make anything that I can’t eat or don’t like.
Now this isn’t your plain jane mac and cheese, it has bacon, shallots, cream and “fancy” cheese. I used orecchette pasta which is my favorite shape for this dish. The creamy cheese completely coats this ear shaped pasta. It isn’t hard to make but takes a little more time. To keep it from being lumpy, stir the milk in gradually, whisking continuously at first. Once the flour paste is incorporated then you can add the rest of the milk, but still gradually.
I separated it into 4 containers so that he can freeze them and take them out whenever. Since this is so rich, I would suggest eating it in small doses. This will really impress if you need to take something for dinner. You can make it ahead of time and just place it under the broiler for a couple of minutes when you get there.
I hope my friends enjoy their food gifts this year, I love having them for friends.
What’s for Dinner, Curtis StonePrint
Gourmet Mac and Cheese
- Category: Entree
- 6 slices applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1/2 cup shallots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, mnced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 1/2 cups skim milk
- 11/2 cups heavy cream
- 6 ounces gruyere, shredded
- 6 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb orecchiette pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Heat a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Using a slotted soon, remove the bacon, leaving the drippings. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often for about 2 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, whisk in flour and cook, whisking for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and cream and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking often for about 10 minutes. Don’t let it boil. Add gruyere and cheddar cheese. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. It will be thin.
- Boil pasta in salted water, rinse and put back in the pot. Pour the hot cheese sauce over the pasta. Stir in the reserved bacon if desired. (we preferred it without as the bacon flavor was overpowering when added) Salt and pepper. Pour into 3 quart baking dish.
- In a small bowl, toss the panko, parmesan cheese, parsley and melted butter. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly over the pasta. Broil, watching closely for about 2 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.
- What’s for Dinner, Curtis Stone