Remember last week when I made this Pastrami, Smoked Mac and Cheese Burger? Yeah, it was awesome. And since I told you the mac and cheese made the burger, I had to share the recipe.
Here it is—in all its humbleness. I know it doesn’t look like much, but I promise you, whether you make it for the burger I mentioned above or as a stand-alone dish, you won’t regret it.
I made this for the second time in two weeks, and—again, the dish was cleared in minutes. Of course the first time, I had to literally portion out what I needed for the burger or it would have been gone. This last time I took it to Matt’s mom’s for Sunday dinner and everyone loved it—kids, adults and even the baby—there were no leftovers. And the breadcrumbs are not only heavy in flavor, it also gives the dish some textural contrast—so don’t skip it!
Everyone loved the smoky flavor and hot kick from Tillamook’s Smoked Extra Sharp Cheddar and Tillamook’s Habanero Cheese. Admittedly, I’m generally not a huge fan of mac and cheese because often times I find it to be too one note in flavor, but the combination of the two mentioned cheeses gives this mac and cheese some depth.
So remember, if you are hoping for leftovers for the aforementioned burger—you had just better set some aside instead.
Smoked Mac and Cheese
Yield: Serves 6-8
Recipe adapted from here
- 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan, divided use
- 2 teaspoon thyme
- 4 pieces of bacon
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup Tillamook Smoked Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Fontina Cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup Tillamook Hot Habanero Jack Cheese, shredded
- 1 lb. pasta, cooked
Preparation: Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine and toss bread crumbs, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and thyme; set aside. Place bacon in a heavy bottom skillet and cook until browned over medium high, about 5- 7 minutes. Remove bacon and discard. Portion out 1/2 of rendered bacon fat and toss with bread mixture; set aside.
Scald milk in a small pan over medium heat and keep warm. Add butter to pan with remaining bacon fat. Add garlic, cook and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in flour, cook and stir until mixture sticks to pan, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in milk while continuously whisking. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, making sure to stir until sauce thick and not grainy when rubbed between two fingers, about 6–8 minutes (cooking the flour thoroughly at this stage ensures a creamy sauce). Stir in kosher salt, ground mustard garlic salt and paprika. Add in all cheeses, including remaining parmesan and stir until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and mix in pasta; transfer to a 4-qt. baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and bake for until cheese top is golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.