"You better not show your face in New York again without making some sort of mac and cheese". I love a good threat, and just to be safe, I made two. The cool thing was that even though these two pastas had the same base sauce, they tasted vastly different. At the end of the night we voted on which one was better, the mac and cheese that was based on a bacon-blue burger, or the one with tomato basil and balsamic. It was almost a sure thing that all the girls said tomato-basil, and all the guys said bacon-blue. I guess you could also call these "his and hers" mac and cheeses.
Nick doesn't have a grater, so I had to just chop all the cheese.
Soo much cheese!
You guys know the mac and cheese deal. Make a roux, add the milk, let it thicken, add the cheese.
There was a lot going on here.
Due to a lack of mixing bowls, pots, baking dishes and other various cooking tools of this nature, the ingredients went into their assigned pans as they were ready.
You can see that I have changed into my party shirt. That's how you know that it's party time.
At this point, it kinda reminded me of hamburger helper. Just a way better version.
A balsamic syrup drizzle tops the tomato basil mac.
It almost forms a crust as it bakes. Very tasty.
But for the guys, it was the bacon-blue all the way. One guy might have eaten a pound of this himself.
I wanted to crawl inside and just sort of exist within the mac as it exists within me. Too much? A new friend brought some candy for dessert and all was right with the world.
The base cheese sauce was the same on both these varieties. The recipe here is for one, not both.
½ stick of butter
½ an onion
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup flour
3.5 cups milk
24 oz cheese (a blend of jack, cheddar, and provolone)
The ingredients go in in that order. Melt the butter, soften the onion (about 7 minutes), add the garlic followed by the flour 1 minute later. Mix well allowing the roux to cook 4-5 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer stirring often. You will notice the bechamel thicken as it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes, then add the cheese and stir to combine/melt.
For those of you not counting, it's a 1.5 : 1 - cheese : pasta ratio
For the tomato basil one, add 1 28oz can of strained diced tomatoes and a bunch of basil to a baking dish. Mix in the sauce and lastly a pound of pasta. Drizzle with balsamic syrup (balsamic and sugar reduced to a syrup) Bake at 425 for about 45 minutes until bubbly, browned, and delicious.
The bacon-blue variety was a pound of cooked ground beef and a pound cooked bacon mixed into the sauce, followed by the pound of pasta. I mixed in about a handful of blue cheese, then added a bunch to the top. Add more or less based on your blue cheese preference and the strength of the particular one you buy. This one also bakes at 425 for about 45 minutes, until it is browned up on top and bubbling on the sides.
To recap - 1 pound pasta, one pound beef, one pound bacon, 1.5 pounds cheese plus more blue cheese for good measure. And not one of us had a heart attack!
If you are looking for me this morning, I'm somewhere jogging and eating lettuce.