So we are going out to a friends house for shish-ka-bobs and I am bringing a side dish. I didn’t want to go to the store and even though I had all week to plan this, here I was on the day of still trying to make up my mind. I ended up running out of time and throwing up my hands saying (to no one in general) “fine! I’ll make mac and cheese”
I’ve noticed how ‘trendy’ the humble and often abused macaroni has become lately. It has gone from soggy cafateria food to tres chic nightclub appetizers. So, what could I do with it?
First, what did I have in the pantry. So, I go out across the patio to the garage, hang a right and there are the gorilla racks hubby set up for food supply overflow. Hmm, so no elbow macaroni. So there goes the traditional macaroni. What else. Hmm, I have this twisty pasta, made of a blend of regular and whole wheat. This will work!
What cheeses do I have? Oddly enough, I still have some Velvetta left. I only buy that every few years. But that won’t do on its own. So I raided the fridge. There was the cheddar stand by. Check! Some soft Fontina. check! Some wonderful aged cheddar hubby found. Check! Pecorino Romano? No, save that for the italian dishes. A little chunk of Emmentaler swiss cheese. Yes, check! Thats enough. Some bacon, why not. Mushrooms need to be used soon, okay. So here is what I ended up with. I need to write it before I forget and someone says, “hey, why dont you make that awesome macaroni and cheese you made that day…”
Macaroni and Cheese on Steroids
- 2 Tblsp. butter
- 2 Tblsp. flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 lb. pasta of your choice
- Assorted cheeses equaling 2 cups, mostly cheddar
- As extra ½ cup cheddar (for topping)
- ‘some’ Velvetta type cheese. (I used about 2 inches of the loaf, cubed)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream (more or less)
- 1 onion
- ‘Some’ bacon (I used 6 slices cut into little bits)
- ½ pkg. of mushrooms, more or less
Start the water boiling for the pasta and cook it according to directions, minus a minute or 2, since this goes into the oven and cooks a bit more.
Grate your cheeses, slice your onions thinly and cut the thin rings in half, slice your mushrooms, dice your bacon. Cube your Velvetta.
Preheat the oven to 350*
In a skillet, fry up your bacon, not too crisp, just done. Take out the bacon bits with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate or something lined with a paper towel. If you have a lot of bacon grease in the pan, pour some out and leave about 1 Tblsp. worth. Into this put the onions and slowly sauté them. This will take about 10 minutes. When they are about 5 minutes done, add the mushrooms and finish cooking them together. You can also use olive oil or butter to cook these vegys in if you prefer.
If your pasta is done by now, drain it in a colander and rinse with water to keep it from sticking and stop it from continuing to cook. It will keep.
In a good sized saucepan, melt your butter. You are making a ‘roux’ here. When the butter is melted, add your flour and immediately whisk. Keep whisking gently to let the flour cook, about 1 minute. Slowly add your milk, whisking to keep the flour from lumping, about 1 minute. Let the milk warm and thicken for a few minutes. When it is warm, add the cheese in there with the milk, slowly melting, occasionally stirring. (except the extra ½ cup cheddar)
I put the cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl, adding the bacon, onions and mushrooms. Mix the eggs and sour cream and pour into the pasta. Do not pour it in when the pasta is too hot or the eggs will cook, in a bad way. Pour the melted cheese sauce over all. Add 1 tsp. salt and some pepper. Gently stir it up, pour it into your baking pan, about 9 x 13. and top with the extra cheese.
Pop into a 350 degree oven. Do not cover. Everything in the mac and cheese is cooked already, so you are just making it extra melty with a crispy topping. *If you are in a hurry, you can just put it under a broiler for a few minutes to brown the top a little.
Voila! Dig in. We fed 4 young men (2 of them teens), a young woman and 4 oldsters with no leftovers.