It’s Tuesday everybody! I sure hope everyone is having a great day. Yesterday, I had a craving for homemade macaroni and cheese and I thought I would go all out and create a bechamel sauce as the base for the cheese sauce.
It is a little time consuming but oh so worth the effort. So rich and creamy and stacked with flavor. In addition to the bechamel sauce I thought I would top the mac and cheese with some crumbled bacon to give it a little extra flavor. I had never tried the bacon addition before…. but I will definitely be doing it in the future. It was quite delicious!
I was also excited that I had a couple of slices of bread left over from my Quick and Easy Whole Wheat bread recipe that I did last week. So I just left it on the counter for a while and then jammed it in the food processor for some instant bread crumbs. I love not wasting anything!
Stay tuned and follow along with this recipe and see what you think.
Béchamel Sauce Ingredients
- 2 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 small onion, peeled
- 2 1/4 cups milk
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tsp. Thyme
- Use cloves as tacks to adhere bay leaves to onion.
- Place onion in heavy saucepan with milk.
- Bring to low simmer over medium heat, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in separate heavy pan, combine flour and butter and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. This cooks the starchy taste out of the flour.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Remove onion from hot milk.
- Return cooled flour to medium heat and slowly add in hot milk, whisking to remove lumps .
- Bring to high simmer, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for 20 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg to taste. If there are lumps in the sauce that whisking will not smooth out, strain sauce through a fine strainer.
- Béchamel is the base for cheese sauce (add grated cheese)and stir until melted. Set aside until Macaroni is ready.
Makes 2 cups of sauce.
Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients
- 350 g macaroni
- 2 cups cheese sauce
- 3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- 8 slices of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
- 1/2 cup freshly made buttered bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Butter a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
- Put the cooked macaroni into the casserole, pour the cheese sauce over it, stir gently.
- Sprinkle the cooked bacon over the top and spread the crumbs on top of the bacon.
- Bake, uncovered, until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.
- Top with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Zesty Tip: Melt a little butter to stir in your bread crumbs before topping the macaroni and cheese. This will help in the borwning process as well as the flavor.
Let me know what you like to add in your mac and cheese or the process you take when making your own. I can’t wait to hear all your comments. I hope you have a great Tuesday!