Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Baked Mac & Cheese with Caramelized Onion, Bacon and Smoked Cheddar
I was craving carbs last night so I "whipped up" a really quick and simple homemade mac and cheese. It's really not as difficult or scary as it seems. You could make it even more quick and simple by leaving out the onions and bacon, but I suggest you leave them in!
6 cups whole wheat pasta noodles
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
4 tbsp butter, divided
2 tbsp flour
1 bay leaf
1 cup milk
salt & pepper
1/2 cup smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
5 sliced bacon, diced and cooked until crisp
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until cooked al dente (should still be slightly firm to the bite). Drain and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Toss well to coat noodles in oil so they will not stick together. Set aside.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter to a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook down until reduced and browned, about 15 minutes. Remove onions from skillet and set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Add flour and whisk continually until a paste is formed (this is called a roux). Add milk and bay leaf and continue stirring until sauce thickens slightly (this is a basic French Béchamel sauce). Add shredded cheese a bit at a time and continue to stir until cheese has melted. Add caramelized onion and diced bacon and stir together.
4. Add cooked noodles to cheese sauce mixture and stir together to coat. Pour into a greased 9x13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan over top and then top with breadcrumbs. Cut 1 tablespoon of butter into 4 small chunks and drop onto top of breadcrumbs in a few places.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown and crispy.
This post is linked to Twister Tuesday at GNOWFGLINS.