Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Homemade Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions

I first made this dish a couple of years ago for a party at my brother's house. The theme was "comfort food" and I was still very new to cooking. I looked through my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book for something that would taste good and be fairly easy to make.

That's when I stumbled across a recipe for macaroni and cheese with caramelized onions. It involves bacon. And onions fried in bacon grease. And cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. It sounded so good, I had to try it. It was a hit at the party, and with almost every other person I've made it for.

I've made a couple of adjustments so that it would be more to my taste. Pork tends to upset my stomach really easily, so I use turkey bacon. I found that half-and-half makes the dish a little too rich, so I use milk instead. I also use whatever pasta I have on hand (so long as it seems strong enough to make it through the oven), instead of exclusively elbow macaroni.

Macaroni and Cheese with Caramelized Onions
adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens 14th Limited Edition

4 strips of bacon
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 c dried elbow macaroni
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese (I hate using the grater, so always end up finely chopping mine instead)
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1 c milk
black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°. Start heating up a big pot of water to cook your pasta.

Cook the bacon in a skillet until it's crisp, then remove the bacon and set it somewhere to drain.
Cook the onion in the bacon grease, until it's golden brown and smelling amazing. Remove the onions from heat and set them aside for later. I like to throw the onions into the casserole dish and crumbling the bacon on top, that way it's ready and  waiting for the pasta and cheese.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta in the boiling water. Drain the pasta and pour it into the casserole dish.
Add 1 1/2 c of the mozzarella cheese, all of the blue cheese, the milk, and lots of pepper. Gently mix everything together until it's well combined (I've found that a clean pair of hands is the best tool for this job).

Throw your casserole into the oven and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Take it out and stir it gently before sprinkling the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top. Bake it for another 10 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbly. Let cool for 10 minutes before eating (otherwise the cheese is like lava).


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