Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
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!
- 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
- 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
- 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- Fry bacon, drain on paper towels then crumble or cut into small pieces.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the cold milk, whisking all the while to prevent clumping.
- 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.
- Add the bacon and shredded cheddar or monterrey jack to the sauce, whisking until the cheese melts. Turn off heat and set aside.
- When pasta has cooked, drain it in a colander and add to the pot of sauce, stirring to combine.
- Scoop macaroni and cheese into a 9-inch or 1 1/2 quart baking dish. No need to butter the dish.
- Place sliced blue cheese evenly over the surface of the macaroni and cheese.
- Mix thyme leaves, bread crumbs and butter. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the blue cheese.
- Place mac & cheese under a broiler for about 5 minutes, just long enough to brown the crumb topping.