Sunday, November 28, 2010

Baked Mac & Cheese with Bacon and Carmelized Onions

It's freezing outside- time for comfort food! Comfort food is the kind that you not only enjoy eating, but you enjoy making. It is soulful, personal. To me, comfort food is macaroni & cheese. Perhaps its the reference to childhood that makes it so comforting, but this mac & cheese is adult friendly. The bacon adds a rich smokiness, while the carmelized onion with garlic and thyme add a hint of gourmet. But the ultimate comfort is the creamy, gooey cheese. It warms me up from head to toe! I made this dish for two of the men in my life- my husband Kevin and our dear friend Stefan- and they both repeatedly said its one of the best things I've ever made. (It didn't hurt that I served it with mini-corn dogs either!) Make this dish for someone you love tonight!

Baked Mac & Cheese with Bacon and Carmelized Onions
Smoky, creamy, cheesy... is there anything better?
Serves 6

1 package (16 oz.) elbow macaroni
3 slices bacon
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. fresh Thyme (or half T. dried)
3 T. butter, divided
2 T. flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup chicken broth or water
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. hot sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard (or Dijon)
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook macaroni to al dente (a minute or so shy of being "done"), drain, and return to pot. Set aside.

Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon until done, about 2 minutes each side. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but one tablespoon of the bacon grease and place back on burner. Add sliced onion to the reserved bacon grease, sprinkle with salt, and saute until carmelized, about 10 minutes. Halfway through add minced garlic and thyme. Stir frequently.

In a sauce pan over medium to medium-high heat melt two tablespoons of butter, add the flour and whisk for two minutes until combined and beginning to brown. Add cream and milk, whisking constantly for another minute. Add all of the cheeses and stir to combine. Add the hot sauce, nutmeg, paprika and dried mustard and stir to combine. Add a good amount of salt and fresh ground pepper- taste to ensure its properly seasoned.

Add cheese sauce, onions, bacon and chicken broth (or water) to cooked noodles. Stir well to combine. Pour into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top and dot with remaining tablespoon of butter. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered, until bubbling and lightly browned. Enjoy with mini corn dogs and green veggies. Pure comfort!

Recipe by Sarah Lang

1 comment:

  1. looks faaaabulous!!! especially with the cream cheese! wish i could have been there!