Friday, June 5, 2009

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This has got to be the ULTIMATE comfort food! Baked macaroni cheese just fills your body and taste buds with that warm and cozy feeling of comfort. I know it's not exactly the most optimal time to have such a carb filled dish with the heat getting higher and higher each day, but this is one my moms favourites, so when my mum is feeling down and asks for her favourite, after everything she has done for me, I can't let her down! After trying several different recipes for baked macaroni and cheese, this recipe in particular for Smackaroni and Cheese from Eat Shrink and Be Merry, won me over! Your face is probably lighting up right about now thinking"oh great a lighter version of macaroni and cheese that tastes great!"....but I'll be honest here, I didn't exactly make the lighter version...no low fat cheese or turkey bacon for me, but I'm sure it would taste just as delicious if you follow their tips on how to make this lighter. If you want the original recipe, you can get it here, mine is slightly different and is listed below.

Before I found this recipe, I always had trouble getting that perfect creamy texture which usually comes from making a rue, but the addition of evaporated milk in this recipe results in that same creamy texture without the trouble of making a correct rue. This dish is taken to another level in terms of flavour and texture with the addition of the sweet green peas, which add little bursts of flavour in each bite, and savoury and salty bacon. I always make this recipe with good quality, white, sharp cheddar cheese, but it can sometimes be a bit difficult to find in your grocery store, so this time I made it with just regular orange, aged cheddar cheese. The white sharp cheddar does have a stronger cheesier taste, so if you are using old orange cheddar, just simply add some extra cheese and season with a bit of salt.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp butter
2/3 cup minced onions
5-7 slices bacon
3/4 cup - 1 cup frozen sweet green peas
1 can (14 oz/380 mL) 2% evaporated milk
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1 dried bay leaf
2 cups packed white sharp cheddar cheese
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups uncooked macaroni

Directions
1. In a large, deep skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onions and chopped bacon. Cook slowly, stirring often, until bacon is lightly browned and onions are golden. This will take about 10 minutes. While the onions and bacon are cooking, begin to boil macaroni.

2. When onions are golden, stir in peas and cook until heated through.

3. Preheat broiler. In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together evaporated milk, flour, and dry mustard. Add to bacon and veggies in skillet and toss in bay leaf. Cook and stir until sauce is bubbly and has thickened.

4. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf, and stir in 1 3/4 cup cheddar. Stir until cheese is melted. Add pepper. Add well-drained macaroni and mix until well-coated with sauce. Transfer to a large, greased casserole dish. Sprinkle remained cheddar over top.

5. Place casserole dish under broiler until cheese is melted.

6 comments:

Justin said...

bacon in mac & cheese... that sounds like a great idea

Kristin said...

Holy deliciousness!

Nanny said...

Ottima ricetta ,molto gustosa!

julia christine said...

MMmmmmmmmmm!!!! I love mac n cheese! I will def. try this one out!

Carol said...

I agree, ultimate comfort food!

finsmom said...

Comfort food at its finest!