Friday, November 18, 2011
Bacon Mac and Cheese
One of my very favorite blogs is Plain Chicken. Steph posts the most delicious looking recipes, many involving chicken or tailgating recipes. She refers to her husband as Chicken Legs, a title which never fails to make me laugh. Each Monday is a "wordless" post featuring photos of her three adorable cats. She unabashedly features recipes with convenience foods as ingredients as well as from-scratch recipes. I have bookmarked more recipes from her blog than from any other. I.Love.Her.Blog.
While browsing through her recipes, I recently found this creation of Chef Michael Symon. It is the easiest and perhaps the best macaroni and cheese I've made. The changes I made were minor and are reflected in my version below. I was too lazy to walk out to my garden to snip rosemary, so I used Tastefully Simple's Spinach and Herb Dip Mix, I subbed half and half for heavy cream, I added a mix of provolone, asiago, parmesan and romano because I forgot to buy Gruyère, and I topped it with freshly grated nutmeg. It was simple, creamy, and very satisfying.
Bacon Mac & Cheese
adapted from the blog of Plain Chicken
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon dried herb mix or 2 tablespoons snipped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
3 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1-1/4 cups shredded cheese, preferably Gruyère or any savory melting cheese
light grating of fresh nutmeg, if desired
Place half and half in large saucepan with dried herb mix or rosemary. Add salt and pepper. Bring to boil; turn down heat and keep at simmer until reduced slightly (original recipe specifies reducing heavy cream to half, but my half and half was reduced by about 1/3, and it was perfect). Meanwhile, cook macaroni according to package directions and drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.
Mix hot pasta with reduced half and half and bacon; mix in cheese and 1 tablespoon pasta water. Stir until cheese is melted and mixture is thickened; add more pasta water if needed. Top with freshly grated nutmeg and serve.