Recipe by KathyP53
From Grant Achatz, Chicago chef
Top Review by chuck_2810
Not good as written - I was skeptical about boiling the milk. Rightly so - scalded milk has a horrible pervasive smell and taste. It was inedible. The soupy mix wasted $15 of ingredients and 4 hours of a Sunday afternoon. Call it my mistake for doing something I knew was wrong. Cream sauces should be gently warmed - never boiled. And the proportion of cheese to cream sauce is too low. Maybe half the sauce to the same amount of cheese.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 6 (6 ounce) thick slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 cups whole milk
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 1 lb extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (5 cups)
Directions See How It's Made
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter a 9X13" baking dish. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate.
- Add the onion and bay leaves to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in the flour until blended. Gradually whisk in the milk until the sauce is smooth. Bring to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly, and cook until thickened. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce gently for 30 minutes, whisking frequently. Discard the bay leaves.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and boil about 4 minutes. Drain the macaroni and return it to the pot.
- Stir 4 cups of the cheddar into the hot sauce; add the bacon and season with salt. Add the sauce to the macaroni and mix well. Spread the mac and cheese in the baking dish and scatter the remaining 1 cup of cheddar on top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
- The assembled mac and cheese can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.