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Friday, February 29, 2008

Macek Mac 'N' Cheese with Bacon

This recipe won Emeril's Best Mac 'n' Cheese Ever Challenge on Good Morning America this morning! With these ingredients, it has to be good.
  • 1 Head of garlic, roasted
  • 1 Teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 Pound Cavatappi pasta, cooked according to directions
  • 1/2 lb. sliced Applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 Tablespoon bacon fat
  • 1-1/2 Cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slice, crusts removed)
  • 1/2 Cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 8 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 Qt. whole milk
  • 6 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 8 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 Teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg

To roast garlic: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice 1/2 inch off the top of the entire head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap garlic head tightly in heavy foil and roast about 50 minutes. Remove garlic pulp by squeezing head. Smash cloves with a fork to form a paste.

TIP: OK, my busy friends. You know you can buy a tube of garlic paste at the grocery store!

Topping: Combine breadcrumbs, crumbled bacon, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute' shallots over low heat in reserved bacon fat for one minute. Add remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and continue to saute' shallots in butter and bacon fat until translucent. Add flour and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Stirring constantly with a wisk, add milk and roasted garlic paste. Cook until sauce is thickened. Remove sauce from heat and add salt, pepper, nutmeg, Gruyere and Cheddar cheeses. Stir in cooked pasta. Pour into greased baking dish. Sprinkle topping to cover entire top. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until sauce is bubbly and topping is brown.

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