Macaroni and Cheese, with Bacon and Broccoli
Nicknamed BB Mac and Cheese, it boasts an ultra rich and creamy cheese sauce, packed with those crave worthy comforting flavors, plus a few vegetables to make you feel slightly less guilty. How many times have you made cheese sauce and been let down by an undesirable texture? Making a béchamel is a bit temperamental and requires patients and technique. Read my tips and tricks to get it just right, every time. Macaroni and cheese is one of my kids favorite meals. Of course they also love boxed macaroni, but the homemade stuff is even better. If it has cheese in it, they usually come running. I hope you enjoy this as much as me and my family do. Be sure to read the full recipe for the best results. Looking for a classic Mac and Cheese? That's great to, just hold the veggies and bacon, and you are all set.
- 2 cups Half and Half Cream or Milk
- 1 Cup Heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp Butter or margarine + 1 tbsp for onions
- 3 Tbsp AP Flour
- Pinch Salt and Pepper
- 1/8 tsp Mustard Powder
- 1/8 tsp Powdered Cayenne Pepper
- 3 Cups Shredded Cheese (medium or old cheddar) plus additional mozzarella for topping
- 1/4 Cup Cream Cheese (optional)
- 1 lb (package) Bacon. Fried and dices
- 1 Medium Onion, diced and fried
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Egg
- 3 Cups Broccoli Florets
- 4 Cups Elbow or Rigatoni Noodles
TIPS AND TRICKS:
- Don't over cook the noodles. They will finish cooking in the oven.
HOW TO GET YOUR CHEESE SAUCE CREAMY, NOT GRITTY:
- Don't over heat the sauce once you add these cheese. Over cooking it will cause the
sauce to become gritty
- Gently stir while adding the cream and cheese to avoid separating the fats.
- If you opted to add cream cheese, a few seconds of whisking may be required to fully blend into the sauce. Add the cream cheese first, then proceed with your shredded cheddar.
- Add the cheese gradually, stirring and combining between additions. If heat is needed to help melt the cheese, do not exceed low heat. High heat will create a gritty sauce.
- Allow cheese to warm on the counter while you cook to aid in a smooth and creamy texture. I shred mine before I start the rest of the recipe.
- Warm the milk/cream before adding it to the roux.
- Be sure to cook the flour for 2 minutes when making the roux. If you don't cook it, it will not become smooth once the milk is added. Be aware that the longer you cook the flour the less it will thicken your sauce so 2 minutes is there perfect amount of time.
- Eating it the next day? Add a splash of extra milk or cream before reheating.
- Prefer a classic Mac and cheese? No problem, skip the bacon, garlic, onions and broccoli and voila, classic Mac and cheese.
- Shred 3 cups of cheddar cheese and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Leave it out and allow it to warm to room temperature.
- Fry diced bacon until crispy then, set aside.
- Using the bacon fat, sauté the broccoli in a hot pan for a few minute to evaporate
some of the moisture in the broccoli. (2 to 3 minutes) Then set aside
- Fry your diced onion and garlic together in a Tbsp butter until soft and opaque. Then add to your broccoli and bacon and set aside.
- Add Salted water to a pot and bring to a boil. Add 4 cups of noodles, and cook until aldonate. Pre heat oven to 350F.
- Add your milk/cream to a pot, and warm on low heat. Meanwhile, add the butter to a separate pot, over medium heat, allow it to melt, then add flour, salt, pepper, cayenne and mustard powder. Simmer together stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
- Add warmed cream/milk to the roux. Stir together over medium to medium low heat until thick and coats the back of your spoon. Be patient and resist the urge to turn up the heart. It should leave a clean line after running your finger through it over the back side of a spoon. (View image in tips and tricks to see consistency) NOTE: It will thicken further in the oven.
- Remove from the heat and scoop out half a cup of the Béchamel. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 egg. While whisking your egg, slowly add the cup of béchamel, tempering the egg. Once combined, add the egg and Béchamel back to the pot, and stir together.
- Add the cream cheese and cheese, a little at a time. TIP: stirring, not whisking, to avoid separating the fats in the cheese and cream which will cause a gritty textured sauce). If the cheese is not melting return to low heat but do not exceed this as over heating the cheese will also create a gritty sauce. (if chunks of cream cheese present can whisk briefly to incorporate).
- Strain cooked noodles and add sauce to the pasta. Stir in your broccoli, onion, garlic and bacon. Pour into a baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake 20 min or so at 350F then broil for 3 to 5 minutes to brown the top.
- Serve hot.
Whether it's Sweet or Savoury, let it be made with love!
Check out my you tube channel "Sweet and Savoury @hollysrecipes22" to see a video on making this recipe.