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Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Updated on August 15, 2013
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Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook's Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.

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XXX Mac & Cheese: For Adults Only

Triple-X mac and cheese: Xtra cheesy, Xtra creamy, Xtra flavorful. During the American Colonial Period homemade beer was labeled with an X, XX or XXX depending upon alcohol content with XXX being the strongest and tastiest. True to form, this recipe creates the most flavorful macaroni and cheese ever to pass your lips.

Actually, there are several aspects of this recipe that make it extra special. First of all, no eggs or baking of the macaroni is required. That means quicker preparation and a silky sauce with no curdling or drying out in the oven.

Second, mild cheese is added to the bechamel sauce so the main star can shine through: a truckload of blue cheese. Have you ever noticed how blue cheese mellows when baked? In fact, its pungeant flavor all but disappears. For that reason the blue cheese is layered under a bread crumb topping and broiled, so it melts into the sauce while retaining its trademark flavor profile.

Try it and you'll agree: this macaroni and cheese truly is XXX, for adults only!


Tips:

  • Don't overcook the pasta. Boil just until al dente.
  • Before slicing blue cheese, spray the knife with cooking spray so it will slide off the blade.
  • We think whole milk is plenty rich, but try half-n-half for an even richer dish.
  • Instead of the fresh thyme leaves in the crumb topping, try fresh rosemary or basil to switch things up.


XXX Gourmet Macaroni & Cheese

4.8 stars from 5 ratings of XXX Gourmet Macaroni & Cheese

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Cook time: 15 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (250 grams) pasta such as elbow macaroni or cavatappi
  • 6 slices bacon, thick sliced
  • 2 cups mild cheddar or monterrey jack cheese, grated
  • 2 cups whole milk or half-n-half
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tablespoon flour, all purpose
  • 1/2 teaspoon each onion powder, cayenne pepper and white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) blue cheese, sliced or crumbled

Crumb Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Frying baconSprinkle mac with blue cheesesprinkle with crumb topping
Frying bacon
Frying bacon
Sprinkle mac with blue cheese
Sprinkle mac with blue cheese
sprinkle with crumb topping
sprinkle with crumb topping
  1. Fry bacon, drain on paper towels then crumble or cut into small pieces.
  2. Add pasta to a pot of boiling salted water. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, or according to package directions, until pasta is al dente.
  3. While pasta is cooking, prepare the bechamel sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add garlic and flour, stirring constantly for about one minute.
  4. Add the cold milk, whisking all the while to prevent clumping.
  5. Mix spices, salt and Dijon mustard into the sauce, whisking occasionally until sauce begins to simmer. Continue to simmer another minute or two, until sauce thickens slightly.
  6. Add the bacon and shredded cheddar or monterrey jack to the sauce, whisking until the cheese melts. Turn off heat and set aside.
  7. When pasta has cooked, drain it in a colander and add to the pot of sauce, stirring to combine.
  8. Scoop macaroni and cheese into a 9-inch or 1 1/2 quart baking dish. No need to butter the dish.
  9. Place sliced blue cheese evenly over the surface of the macaroni and cheese.
  10. Mix thyme leaves, bread crumbs and butter. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the blue cheese.
  11. Place mac & cheese under a broiler for about 5 minutes, just long enough to brown the crumb topping.

Serving Suggestions

Serve macaroni and cheese with Tex-Mex Margaritas or Tangy Mango Lemonade and a side salad drizzled with vinaigrette.

Or serve it as a side alongside Oven-Baked BBQ Ribs slathered with Homemade BBQ Sauce.

Bon Appetit!

Comments

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  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    PeggyW, this is my favorite mac & cheese! My husband and I love the flavor of blue cheese, and this method doesn't allow the flavors to mellow with baking. Hope you enjoy! Thanks for the votes!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Wow! Wow! Wow! This mac and cheese takes it to a whole new level of decadent flavors. Will be dreaming of it tonight as I go to bed. Sounds delicious!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe. Several up votes!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    ThanayiTheFoodFan, I'm glad you like this recipe.Enjoy! This macaroni & cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods. Thanks for your comment.

  • ThanayiTheFoodFan profile image

    Thanayi Robinson 4 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

    Looks VERY GOOD and the title is amazing! I will be trying soon :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Howlermunkey, this is hands-down my favorite mac & cheese. It's so grownup,who could resist?? Enjoy! Thanks for coming by.

  • howlermunkey profile image

    Jeff Boettner 4 years ago from Tampa, FL

    With a title like that, how could I resist? and with a recipe like that, How can I not cook this today?? Just starting to get cold out, this is going to be a fun one over the next few months :), Up and Sharing

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    MissyMac, everything's better with bacon! Enjoy and thanks for coming by.

  • Missy Mac profile image

    Missy Mac 4 years ago from Illinois

    Okay, I saw the bacon and I will be trying this recipe. Thanks again

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    I just love blue cheese so if we have a craving for mac & cheese, this is our go-to recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Thanks for coming by, KoffeeKlatch Gals. It's always nice to hear from you.

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Haze 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I'm sitting here drooling and making up a new shlopping list. I definitely have to try this. It sounds absolutely heavenly. Can't wait.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Alocsin, most anything can be "gourmeted" these days! Bacon and garlic are always yummy in my opinion. Thanks for your vote and comment.

  • alocsin profile image

    alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

    I don't know that "gourmet" and "mac and cheese" belong together your recipe sounds yummy. I love the bacon and garlic. Voting this Up and Useful.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Jamie Brock, if you love blue cheese then you'll love this mac & cheese! I hope you have a chance to try it someday. Thank you for your comment.

  • Jamie Brock profile image

    Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

    Oh, my goodness! Now this sounds like MY kind of macaroni and cheese. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful tutorial. I may have to give this one a try sometime, it sounds and looks amazing.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Glimmer Twin Fan, enjoy the xtra rich and delicious mac & cheese and thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

    Holy Moly this sounds good. I'll have to try this!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Beingwell, a few bites is just right. : ) Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Suzie HQ, thanks so much for your enthusiastic comment, your vote and share. Enjoy the mac!

  • Suzie HQ profile image

    Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

    vespawoolf - another delicious offering from you! Sounds fabulicious!! A big fan of mac & cheese, never used blue cheese, sounds gorgeous, have to give this a try! Your layout, pics and instructions as ALWAYS excellent!! Thanks again, lovely to wake to this scrummy sounding dish - voting up, more and sharing!!!!!

  • beingwell profile image

    beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

    Looks very sinful! Wanna' have it! ...just a few bites.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Koshaugh, enjoy the recipe and thank you for stopping by.

  • Koshaugh profile image

    Kara Monterey 4 years ago from Indianapolis

    I normally don't like mac and cheese, but this looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing:)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Arlene V. Poma, my father doesn't like blue cheese, either. They don't know what they're missing out on! Thank you for dropping by. It's always nice to see you.

  • profile image

    Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

    Ooooooooooooo! Another delightful, divine recipe where I can throw in some basil! Also, my hubby doesn't like blue cheese, so when I make this dish, MORE FOR ME!!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Bobbi Purvis, I hope this mac receives your family's seal of approval. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

  • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

    PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida

    Hi,

    I am printing this in order to make your recipe it looks so great. I have to tell you my family has never liked anyone Cheese and Macaroni but mine.

    So, I am going to try this---it sounds so good.

    Thanks Your Hub Friend,

    Bobbi Purvis

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Anglnwu, it's nice to know a fellow blue cheese lover! Enjoy the mac and thanks for commenting.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 4 years ago

    Mmmm...this sounds so good and the picture makes me drool. I love blue cheese and this marc and cheese got it made--awesome and beautiful and sharing.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Emilybee, thank you for your nice comment! Enjoy the m&c!

  • emilybee profile image

    emilybee 4 years ago

    Oh my gosh, your photos are making me hungry! Your photos are excellent! What a wonderful recipe!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Jenubouka, enjoy the naughty mac & cheese and thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • profile image

    jenubouka 4 years ago

    Oh vespawolf, you naughty wonderful cook!! This sounds so divine; in fact it may just be for dinner tonight!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    TToombs08, LOL! Well at least you can enjoy the alcohol on the side. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  • TToombs08 profile image

    Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

    This looks really good! Never even thought about adding alcohol to it before. :) VUMS.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Sorry about that, LetitiaFT! This mac is a once in a while treat since it's Xtra fattening! Thanks for commenting.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Jackie Lynnley, enjoy the mac dinner and thanks for commenting!

  • LetitiaFT profile image

    LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

    Mac and Cheese Ambrosia! You've done it again, darn you. Do you realize how much weight I've put on since I've been following you and your scrumptious recipes?!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Wow this looks like a full meal deal! Have to try it!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Rebecca, thanks for your vote and comment! Enjoy the mac.

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    What a cool recipe! Good ol' Mac and Cheese with a gourmet twist. Can't wait to try it, voted up and shared all around!

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