Sometimes you just have to kick it up a notch, and this mac and cheese recipe does just that. It has a little bit of chedda, some truffle oil (YES! Bc we’re still obsessed with it), some bacon, and it has some…wait for it…whiskey. If this isn’t a bad ass, mans-man mac and cheese then I don’t know what is.
1 box of elbow macaroni
3 tbsp truffle oil
1 tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
A pinch of salt and pepper
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half & half
1 tbsp whiskey (I used a little Jack)
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter, melted
Cook the macaroni to your liking and drain. (I prefer al dente.). Add the macaroni back in to the pot and mix in the truffle oil, basil, salt, and pepper. While the pasta is cooking you can start on the sauce. But before you do, turn on your broiler to high.
Using a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add in the bacon, garlic, and thyme. Add in the flour, half & half, and whiskey and bring it to a boil. After roughly 3 minutes of stirring, reduce to a simmer and add in 2 1/2 cups of the cheddar, mixing until sauce thickens. Then pour it over that delicious smelling truffle macaroni and mix until it’s fully coated. On to the topping. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, 1/2 a cup cheddar cheese and melted butter. Oil up your ramekins (I used eight 8oz ones) or a baking dish and distribute the macaroni. Sprinkle on the topping and a dash of fresh basil for some color.
Broil the dish for about 3 minutes. Keep a close eye on it as you don’t want it to burn.
We are way too grown up to still be doing easy mac from our good ole friends at Kraft. As enjoyable as that was in college, its time to realize an orange powder may not be the best thing to put into our bodies. This is just as quick, but with fresh ingredients. Oh and speaking of watching what we put into our bodies, this recipe is figure friendly because there is no butter and no heavy cream. Just simple, clean, and tasty.
14 oz. of macaroni elbows
2 cups shredded cheddar (get creative and do 1 cup fontina and 1 cup Gruyère or 1 cup of the cheddar and 1 cup of Monterey jack)
1 tsp Dijon mustard (umm so I did tablespoon not teaspoon because apparently I don’t know how to read and it was noticeably too tangy so don’t rush and read the measurements properly, lesson learned).
1 tsp salt
1 tsp parsley flakes (I just add this to almost any recipe I can because I think the little green flecks just brighten up a dish, in other words “optional”).
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Boil elbows. Drain pasta in colander while reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Return macaroni to pot and mix in the remaining ingredients over low heat (including the pasta water). Fold gently to melt and mix all ingredients.
I may throw in some pancetta next time to add another element slash make it more entree worthy vs. side dish. Plus let’s face it, pancetta would make it the grown up version of the throwback, when mom’s across America cut up hot dogs for us when we were kids & threw it in our mac & cheese.
Happy Eating, XO.