A place for a young lady to cook, eat, and share her yummy adventures.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not so "Fancy" Mac and Cheese

This is an adaptation of The Pioneer Woman's Fancy Macaroni. I have become a huge fan of all pot luck type events, summer parties, my New Years party, bon fires, making my friends come over and eat the stuff I cook for them.

I just realized how easy my friends have it...

And, this is perfect for any occasion that involves hungry people and trying to impress someone with words like "fancy" and "cheese". I'm always impressed when someone says fancy.

The "fancy" comes in when you add bacon and sauteed onions to a regular cheese sauce, at least, I think so.

You will need:
  • 2-3 cups Macaroni
  • 8 Tablespoons (salted) Butter
  • 1 (or 2) whole Medium Onion(s), Cut In Half And Sliced Thin (half moons)
  • 10 slices Regular Bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon Bacon Grease (reserved From Bacon Slices)
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Or 2% Milk
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks, Beaten
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup (or more) Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup (or more) Grated Jack Cheese 
  • ½ cups sour cream (light does NOT work for this)

Start by cooking the bacon. Make sure it's crispy enough to break easily but not burnt. If you make the whole package just remember to not eat at least 10 pieces. I never actually remember to count, but I love bacon, so I use a lot.

Next slice onions. You can either do half moon slices (which I personally prefer) or dice them smaller which the friend I was making this for prefers. I sautéed them in the bacon grease because I had never tried it before, it was pretty good, but they were dirty looking. I prefer nice white or clear onions. Do what you will, if you use butter sauté them in 3-4 tablespoons.


Sauté them till the onions are soft and clear-ish.

Set aside bacon and onions for later.

Now, for the cheese sauce,

Grate your cheeses.

When you grate your own cheese you make God smile. When God smiles the world is good. Make the world good, grate your own cheese.

Start by melting 4 tablespoons of butter in a pot over medium heat. Once it's melted whisk in ¼ cup of flour and the bacon grease you saved. You did save it, right??

So the flour doesn't burn whisk it for about a minute.

Turn the heat up to high (so you can melt the cheese) and add the 2% milk to the pot.

Grate pepper into the milk; whisk till everything is all mixed and warm and happy.

Here is where you'd add the eggs if you are into that sort of thing... I may or may not forget to do it every time I make this, but I can vouch by saying they aren't necessary. If you do decided to add them you must temper them. by this point the milk mixture is pretty warm and if you just plop the egg (yellows*) they'd scramble and you'd have weird stuff. Eggs are to make the cheese sauce more solid/stick to whatever you're coating them in. I personally have never noticed the difference.

How to temper an egg: Whisk the egg (yellows only in this case)
add a little of the hot liquid to them
whisk till combined and warm
throw whole bit into the hot liquid

By doing this you introduce the heat to the delicate eggs slowly, preventing them from doing that scramble business.

Next, add the cheese and sour cream, stir completely after each add.

Add the bacon and onions. Stir in completely. Save at least a handful of the bacon and onions because it'll be a garnish for the end.

It'll smell like Jesus himself made it and you'll want to just eat it with a spoon, but don't.

You probably should have magically made your pasta sometime in there when I wasn't paying attention, didn't photograph it, and didn't write about it.

Boil your noodles, make sure they are al dente, and drain them.

Oh, and your oven should be at about 350°. Do that too.

Stir the noodles into the sauce. I think there are too many noodles for how much sauce we made; if you don't use them all, don't worry.

Add it to a baking dish (or two) and then sprinkle the rest of the bacon and onions over the tops.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or till they are bubbly and brown and the onions on top are crispy. Heaven smiles on a crispy onion. I smile on it too.

Serve warm.

This will make people wish you were their roommate when they eat this.

* If egg whites are called whites... why aren't the yokes called "yellows"? I also think red onions have a stupid fucking name. They are purple; I call them the color they truly are.