I wish I lived near more blogging friends. Do you know what that would be like? It would be an eat fest with lots of laughter and fun. But since that’s not possible, I’m joining in on a holiday virtual potluck. For the potluck I’ve decided to share one of my childhood favorites turned comfort food -macaroni and cheese, this dish has grown up with me through the years. If you’re a mac fan like me, then what you liked as a kid has changed from loving that box Kraft Mac n’ Cheese to something more rich and creamy.
The recipe is from Bon Appetit, and I’m pretty sure it won Dish of the Year for 1999. If anyone knows the exact year let me know – I lost my original torn-out recipe from the magazine years ago.
What hasn’t been lost is my absolute love for this mac and cheese version that’s not too rich and is packing a whole lot of flavor with the Fontina, Gruyere and Parmesan cheese. Finishing it all off is a layer of bread crumbs and shredded parmesan cheese tossed in bacon dripping for a crisp carbonara flavored topping.
Now that I’ve mentioned my undying love for this macaroni and cheese recipe, if you give me your to-die-for recipe I will mostly likely test it to see how it compares. That’s right I’m a cheater, a prowler— always on the hunt for that perfect macaroni and cheese recipe.
But at least that’s what keeps me in the kitchen experimenting.
Also, hop on over and see what my friends brought to our Virtual Brunch Potluck!
Potato Casserole – Julie Deily
Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle with Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce – Sommer from A Spicy Perspective
Almond Brickle Coffee Cake – Kathy from Cooking On the Side
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream – Cheryl from TidyMom
Party Favor/Hostess Gift
Dark Chocolate Bark with Ginger, Pumpkin Seeds and Apricots – Sylvie from Gourmande in the Kitchen
A few notes:
- Base of the cheese sauce is cabonara in flavor. You can step that up even further by crushing the cooked bacon and adding it into the mac and cheese. I chose not to do that since I didn’t want a carbonara strong mac and cheese.
- To shortcut the time to achieving a crisp top, I remove the macaroni and cheese from the oven after 20 minutes and then place it under the broiler.
- Believe it or not, this dish tastes even better the next day. All the flavors settle in deeply for an even richer tasting dish.
Bon Appetit’s Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 10-12 | Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish.
- 3 1/4 cups large elbow macaroni (about 11 ounces)
- 12 bacon slices
- 4 cups fresh coarse breadcrumbs made from French bread (about 5.5 ounces)
- 1 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 6 cups whole milk
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 14 ounces grated Fontina cheese (about 14 ounces)
- 4ounces grated Gruyere
- Cook macaroni in heavy large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse and drain again.
- Cook bacon in large heavy bottom sauté pan over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon and set aside. Place 1/4 cup of pan drippings in a large bowl. Add breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and toss to coat; set aside.
- Add minced garlic to remaining pan drippings in pot and sauté over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and whisk 3 minutes. Add in whole milk in 2 cups at a time and whisk to combine. Add in egg yolks, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Whisking constantly, cook until mixture thickens, about 12 minutes. Add in 10 ounces of Fontina cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese and whisk until cheese melts. Remove cheese mixture from heat. Pour mixture over macaroni and mix to combine. Stir in remaining Fontina and mix to combine. Transfer macaroni mixture to prepared dish.
*Dish can be prepared 6 hours ahead. To do so, cover macaroni and breadcrumb mixture separately and refrigerate. To bake, cover macaroni mixture with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of macaroni mixture and bake just until topping is golden, about 15 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.