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Macaroni With Farmstead Cheddar and Bacon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
4 slices baguette, crusts removed and bread torn into bread crumbs
4 slices thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips
14 cup all-purpose flour
fresh ground black pepper
14 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups milk, heated
34 lb cheddar cheese, preferably farmstead, shredded
12 lb elbow macaroni


Butter a shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish. In a frying pan, melt 1 T butter over med-high heat. Add the bread crumbs and fry until golden, about 4 minutes; transfer to a plate. In the frying pan, fry the bacon over medium heat until cooked but not crisp, 3-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. In a saucepan, melt the remaining 3 T butter over med-high heat. Add the flour, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t black pepper, and the cayenne; whisk until a smooth paste forms,. Slowly whisk in the hot milk, decrease heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Add two-thirds of the cheese and stir until melted, about 2 minutes; remove from the heat. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, stir well, and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, add to the prepared dish, and toss with the bacon. Pour in the cheese sauce and stir to mix well. Top with the remaining cheese and then the bread crumbs. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden, about 30 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Source: www.food.com