Was craving a comfort dish so decided to make my ultimate Mac n Cheese. I only make this dish about once a year. Its a real treat to eat it. This year I made one for tonight and another for the freezer. It freezes and keeps well for about a month. (1 month is about as long as it has ever lasted in our freezer)
- 1 lb dry elbow pasta cooked (*please do not boil past about 7 minutes this should be just a little harder than al dente)
- 6 cups Colby Cheese Shredded
- 1 cup Cendrillon Goat Cheese Shredded
- 1/2 lb bacon
- 1 small red onion diced
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1/2 c flour
- 1/2 c butter
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons dried chives
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon fine grind black pepper
- 3 cups skim milk
- 2 cups 1/2 & 1/2 cream
- salt to taste *depending on the cheese you use this can vary wildly
For the topping
- 1 pkg 170 gr panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
I start by melting the butter then adding the flour on medium heat. I cook the flour and butter mixture for about 5 minutes. Then I add the milk and cream. Make sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t scorch the mixture. I usually have it on about medium low.
Fry the bacon in small pieces. Remove from the bacon fat. Fry the onion in the bacon fat. Don’t even think about draining in the bacon fat from the onions. Bacon fat is wickedly good in Mac N Cheese. Just add the onions and the warm bacon fat to the milk and cream mixture and whisk to combine.
Really it is really simple from this point on. Add everything else (other than the cooked bacon) and cook until all of the cheese has melted. I prefer the Colby and the Cendrillon since they give it a great deep cheesy flavor. I consistently whisk this making sure there are no lumps. This is where you should be taste testing for salt. Since the salt levels can vary so much in cheese it will be left up to you to determine how much.
I used two corelle dishes for layering.I use a layer of macaroni, a layer of the cheese mixture then sprinkle on some of the bacon. Repeat until both dishes are full.
For the topping simply melt the butter and mix with the Panko breadcrumbs and the smoked paprika. Spread liberally on both casserole dishes.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Make sure to let this rest at least 10-15 minutes.
This is great cold the next day or even made into mac balls rolled into flour then an egg wash and even more panko then deep fried. Its creamy bacon cheesy goodness.