Have you ever had a long week and at the end you just want some time alone? Well that's me this week. And the one thing that brings me great comfort is food. So put on "Rodney Carrington: Laughter's Good" comedy special on Netflix and whipped myself up a comforting bowl of mac and cheese. Trust me, it's all you need to help ease you into the weekend. Especially if there's bacon because...bacon. I mean how can you resist those crispy bits of scrumptious savory bliss?
How many people have emergency food stashed in their cars and work? Oh...just me? Okay. Well, I'm guilty of stashing away microwavable Kraft's mac n' cheese cups for a rainy day. Except sometimes, I like to fancy it up a bit and make some homemade mac and cheese. Personally, I like using white cheese because anything you add to it creates such a lovely mix of color. And you know I'm a sucker for colorful food. The bacon and specks of ground mustard seeds give just a hint of life to a dish that would ordinarily be plain in color (mac and cheese should never be plain in taste).
6 cups water
1/8 tsp olive oil
1 pound small elbow macaroni
A dash of salt
1/4 c unsalted butter
1/4 c bleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp grounded yellow mustard seed
1/4 pound smoked Gouda cheese (grated)
8oz white cheddar cheese (grated)
1 package of bacon
1/4 c bread crumbs
A dash of salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour water, oil, and a dash of salt into a pot over high heat, bring to a boil. Add macaroni into boiling water and cook until al dente, approximately 8 mins. Drain macaroni and set aside in a skillet or baking pan.
Cook bacon on a skillet over high-medium heat until crispy. **Or for the lazy like me, cook bacon in a toaster oven at high heat for approximately 6-8 mins., flip bacon at the halfway point to cook both sides.** Set aside cooked bacon to a paper towel to remove excessive fat.
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, Whisk in the flour constantly until the roux is a blonde, about 2 mins.
Slowly pour in milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Whisk in ground mustard seed. Remove saucepan from heat.
Slowly combine grated cheese, whisking constantly until melted. Toss in a dash of salt and a dash of pepper to taste.
Pour cheese sauce over macaroni, stirring until well combined. Smooth over macaroni until evenly distributed.
Chop up cooked bacon into bits. (Lazy method: Wrap cooked bacon into another piece of paper towel and crush with hands into bits. Paper towel will hold the bacon bits together.) Sprinkle bacon bits and bread crumbs evenly over macaroni.
Bake dish in over until lightly golden on top, approximately 20 mins. Remove and serve hot.