Friday, September 5, 2008

Mac N' Blue

This ain't your mama's mac n'cheese. Well, maybe it is but if that's the case your mom's got some home cookin' class. I love traditional Southern style simple macaroni and cheese, all creamy and gooey with a crunchy breadcrumb topping. However sometimes you have to change things up a little. I like to make this recipe using my favorite Point Reyes blue cheese, peppery thick bacon, and fresh chanterell mushrooms. I also usually use a thicker type of past like penne or rigatoni to hold up to the sauce. Don't be scared of this recipe. You can always diet tomorrow.

1 lb penne or rigatoni
1 lb pepper bacon, cut into batons (small strips)
1/2 lb chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded asiago cheese
2 cups crumbled Point Reyes blue cheese
1 cup grated parmesean cheese
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Boil pasta in large pot of salted water until al dente or just cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Drain. In a saute pan over medium high heat render the bacon, about 3-4 minutes. Remove cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate.

Butter a 10" (or so) baking dish. Melt butter in heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Add flour and stir constantly for 1 minute (do not brown). Slowly whisk in milk and cream. Simmer until it thickens slightly, about 4 minutes (whisking periodically). Reduce heat to low. Add the shredded asiago cheese and the crumbled blue cheese. Whisk until cheese melts, about 2-3 minutes. Season sauce with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.

Stir the cooked pasta, mushrooms and bacon into the sauce, mixing well. Transfer the mixture to the buttered baking dish. Top with grated parmesean. Bake about 30 minutes.

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