My foray into creative cooking has continued. Craig and I have gotten into the habit of trying to make the most exciting meal we can with whatever we have in the fridge. Usually this involves chopping a ton of random vegetables, sauteing them with a bunch of spices, and eating them with rice. Yum.
However, last time this required a quick trip to the store to get some high-quality cheese, and resulted in the best meal we have concocted in quite some time. And get excited, because I am about to give you FULL RECIPE for what we did. OHMIGOD.
But before I give you the recipe, I must give credit where credit is due. I learned about making “super easy” homemade mac & cheese (via a super-simple roux) from my old roommate Emily. And then I decided to follow in the footsteps of my other roommate Kate, because her recipe for baked mac & cheese is TO DIE FOR.
Here’s the recipe (that I sort of made up based on past delicious experience):
HOMEMADE BAKED MAC & CHEESE WITH BACON
- 1 lb grated cheese (I prefer smoked cheddar–delish–but any not-too-soft cheese you like will do) – also pre-grated cheese sucks. DIY, you fools.
- 1 box shapely pasta (by this I mean rigatoni, macaroni, rotini, etc.)
- 4-6 strips BACON (duh)
- some butter
- some milk
- some flour
- some bread crumbs
Step 0: Preheat oven to 350 F. (I hate making this Step 1. When you’re baking, preheating should be obvious.)
Step 1: Cook the bacon. I like to do so in the oven. It’s easy and doesn’t require flipping. But regardless of how you cook it, make sure it’s crispy (i.e. crumbles easily).
Step 2: While the bacon is in the oven (if you do it that way), cook the pasta to al dente (i.e. read the package).
Step 3: While BOTH of the above are cooking, begin to make a roux. Pour some milk in a saucepan (Maybe 1 cup? Something like that. It should just look right. I suck at measuring.) Heat it S-L-O-W-L-Y (this is key…no boiling allowed…unless you want curdled milk).
Step 4: Add some flour. Stir. Add some more. Stir. It should get slightly thicker, but it probably won’t appear to get thicker, so you’ll freak out, but it’s ok. Don’t freak out. Read the next step.
Step 5: Add some butter to the milk/flour mixture. 2 to 3 Tbsp. should do. Stir it some more. It WILL get thicker.
Step 6: Add the grated cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. NOTE: If it’s sill really thin/watery, add more flour. Otherwise just stir and let it thicken. Because it will. Calm down.
Step 7: By this point both the pasta and bacon should be done. So done that you should have already drained the pasta and crumbled the bacon. If not, do these things. You slow-poke.
Step 8: Pour the drained pasta into the roux-pan (if it’s big enough). Otherwise, put the pasta back in the pasta pan and pour the roux into that pan. STIR LIKE THE DICKENS. Add the crumbled bacon. STIR MORE.
Step 9: Pour the whole freaking mixture into a casserole dish. Or something. Sprinkle a bit more grated cheese over the top (if you have any left). Cover the whole thing with a thin layer of breadcrumbs.
Step 10: Bake for 20ish minutes. You can bake it longer if you want, but it’s not necessary. It will taste really good this way. I swear. I’ve already done it once.
THEN EAT. NOM. YUM. SO GOOD.
No seriously, it’s delicious.
In other bacon-related news, I had bacon dessert the other night. I went to this place called Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar, and they gave us free dessert. Which included (brace yourselves) BACON TOFFEE BRITTLE. Holy crap. Candied bacon baked into toffee brittle. Instead of nuts or whatever. IT WAS AMAZING.
This is next on my list of things to bake. I will make sure to give you the recipe once I succeed without blowing up my apartment. Which might take a while. Stay tuned.