Oh man, this is probably my favorite food. I wish I could tell you a great story about my childhood, and how my mother used to make this on cold rainy days. I can’t though. The mac & cheese of my childhood came out of a blue box and more often than not had chopped up hot dogs in it because my parents had trouble getting me to eat protein. True story. My dad made me cheese and noodle omelets so I’d eat eggs. He calls it my “yellow diet” phase.
I don’t have any memories of real mac n cheese until after I moved out and started experimenting with foods a lot more. This variant has four cheeses, parmesan, sharp cheddar, medium cheddar, and smoked gouda. It also has my favorite ingredient, bacon. To start. I chopped up 1 pound of bacon, and cooked it down slowly to render the fat then eventually crisp it up.
I also grated up 1lb of cheese. Did I warn you that this is not low fat? It’s not. After the bacon crisped up, I pulled it out and drained it on a paper towel, then added a few tablespoons of flour to the remaining grease and whisked it in and let it toast just a little. Then I added in a little cream and whisked it, followed by some milk. All in all, I think I put in a few cups of milk, adding it in slowly and whisking to combine, letting it simmer and gauging the viscosity after each addition. Some mustard powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper were added. After the thickness looked right, I added in the cheese in 3rds.
After each addition melted, I whisked it in and made another addition. Meanwhile, I brought a bunch of salted water to a boil and threw in a pound of interesting shaped pasta.
After the pasta was done, I added it and the bacon in, stirred, and ended up needing to add some more milk to liquefy the mixture a bit more. Then it was added to a buttered casserole dish and topped with bread crumbs. The whole caboodle went into a 350º oven for about half an hour.
When, after 30 minutes the top still had not begun browning, and I was getting impatient, so I turned on the broiler and watched it like a hawk. I have a tendency to burn things.
When it browned, I finally got to eat some.
This was my first serving.