Elevated Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Gruyère

Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, but who says it can’t be a gourmet delight as well? Elevate your mac and cheese game with this luxurious recipe that combines the creamy goodness of Gruyère cheese, the smoky richness of bacon, and a touch of sophistication. Whether you’re planning a special dinner or just craving some indulgent cheesy goodness, this recipe will take your taste buds to new heights. Let’s dive into the world of Elevated Macaroni and Cheese!

Ingredients: For the Mac and Cheese:

  • 12 oz (about 3 cups) elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Bacon Topping:

  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cooking Notes and Tips:

1. Perfectly Cooked Pasta:

  • Boil the macaroni until it’s just al dente, as it will continue cooking in the oven. Rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent it from becoming mushy.

2. Cheese Selection:

  • The combination of Gruyère and sharp cheddar creates a perfect balance of creaminess and sharpness. Feel free to experiment with other cheeses, but Gruyère should be the star.

3. Building a Silky Cheese Sauce:

  • Create a roux by melting butter and whisking in the flour. This will help thicken the sauce. Make sure to cook the roux until it’s pale and bubbling, but not browned.
  • Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. This step is crucial for a smooth and lump-free sauce.
  • Simmer the sauce until it thickens, and then add the grated cheeses slowly, allowing them to melt before adding more.

4. Seasoning with Nutmeg:

  • Nutmeg adds a subtle, warm depth of flavor to the cheese sauce. Use freshly grated nutmeg for the best taste.

5. Bacon Crisping:

  • For the bacon topping, cook the bacon until it’s crispy but not burnt. Blot excess grease with paper towels and then crumble it for that perfect crunch.

6. Creating the Crunchy Topping:

  • Mix breadcrumbs, fresh parsley, and grated Parmesan to create a crunchy, flavorful topping for the mac and cheese. It adds a delightful contrast to the creamy interior.

7. Baking to Perfection:

  • Bake the mac and cheese in a preheated oven until the top is golden brown and bubbling. This step melds all the flavors and textures together.

With this Elevated Macaroni and Cheese recipe, you’ll create a dish that’s not just a crowd-pleaser but also a showstopper. It’s the perfect combination of comfort and sophistication, and every bite is an explosion of flavor and texture. Enjoy!

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