Grant Achatz's Mac and Cheese
- Ready In:
- 2hrs 40mins
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 6 ounces thick slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1⁄4 teaspoon oregano (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 cups whole milk
- 1 lb elbow macaroni (we used the penne) or 1 lb penne pasta (we used the penne)
- 5 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- salt, to taste
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch 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 paper toweled 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, oregano, garlic and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- 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.
- Add the macaroni or penne and boil until pliable but undercooked, about 4 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- Stir 4 cups of the cheddar into the hot sauce, add the bacon and season with salt, black pepper(as needed) and a pinch of crushed red pepper(as needed).
- Add the sauce to the pasta and mix well.
- Spread the mac and cheese in the prepared baking dish and scatter the remaining 1 cup of cheddar on top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.
- Let stand for 10 minutes before serving with a baby spinach salad w/a vinaigrette dressing, crusty rustic bread and a Brunello di Montalcino from southern Tuscany.
- **The assembled mac and cheese can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.
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RECIPE SUBMITTED BY
<p>Hello all, thank you for visiting My Page but forgive me for it is a work in progress! :) As I am sure you have noticed I changed my Chef Name to Manami which means love & beauty. ;) Just thought I should get with the program - my geisha & my icon! :) Don't fret, I won't change it again! <br /><br />I am 70 years young and I live in a nursing home, which is out of this world, I am treated like a princess and the world is my oyster! I have a private room and during the season I do taxes for most of the staff, as well as my personal clients that have been following me since I left the business world about 25 years ago. I was rear-ended by a van and it turned my whole world upside down. Why dwell on that? <br /><br />I am an American Jew (from NYC) who moved to Havana, Cuba when I was 2 1/2 years old, lived there until a few days after Castro took over and vamoosed it out of that country as fast as my legs would carry me! I was on a forced hiatus from the UofM, due to illness. <br /><br />From there my sister, mother and I went to NYC to work and my father went to Haiti in Port-Au-Prince, where he and my uncle had purchased some tiny cocoa plantations & a chocolate factory - for the choccolate liquer - to make baking chocolate (the real bitter stuff). We joined my father about 2 months later where I spent 2 of the most carefree & wonderful years of my life! It is the stuff that movies are made of! (A la Grace Kelly - even my clothes were like hers)> </p> <p>I then continued my studies in upstate NY and hated it because it was too, too cold!:( Went back to NYC to work and see what I wanted to do with my life - I was all of 20 years old and had to drop out of school because of illness and then because of the weather! Yuck - so I got a job in a Textile Buying Office as a receptionist and soon I found myself buying trimmings! Loved it and was very happy with the work I was doing. <br /><br />However, I got an offer from two young guys who had a factory in Cleveland, Ohio, where they made Maternity Clothes and they wanted me to be in charge of the shipping dept, keep inventory and in my spare time - help with the designing!! I couldn't pass it up - the offer sounded so great and the salary was twice what I was making in the NYC. So I went to Cleveland, got married, had both my children and got a divorce 15 years later. <br /><br />Then my children and I moved to South Florida and have been here since 1978, I can't count that far back :) <br /><br />Learned how to do taxes with H&R Block and worked simultaneously as a Supervisor in 2 offices for them for 15 years. Then after the accident everything went spiralling downwards until I could no longer walk alone even with a walker - so the next step was a wheelchair. Stayed at home with a lot of help (nurses, PT therapists) fixed the bathroom so I could bathe myself and fixed the kitchen so I could help warm-up meals (was taught how to cook in rehab) and so forth and so on. <br /><br />However, the fire department had other plans for me, I called them too often to pick me up off the floor - how embarassing! So they gave me a choice - either a home or they would have to call HRS! :( (very sad) <br /><br />It was there, in my home where I was robbed! <img title=Cry src=/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/img/smiley-cry.gif border=0 alt=Cry /> All my cookbooks (all my Julia Childs Cookbooks, my Settlement Cookbook which had been my mothers - published in 1939 - with all her notes) my mother's cookbooks from Cuba & Haiti, all my handwritten recipes. They also took all my Delft collection, some antiques that I had in the kitchen like my rolling pin, a beautiful old & used wooden bowl, a charcoal-iron that was brought north when my parents left Haiti, it was hand-painted & was gorgeous, as well as all the other things that are too numerous to mention! <br /><br />That proved to be the last straw & from there it was an ALF,<img title=Yell src=/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/img/smiley-yell.gif border=0 alt=Yell /> which was horrible, and then on to another home where the administrator of that home became the administrator here and voila, here I am. <img title=Smile src=/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/img/smiley-smile.gif border=0 alt=Smile /></p> <p>I have a beautiful large private room with a private bath, furnished to my liking: eclectic! <img title=Wink src=/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/img/smiley-wink.gif border=0 alt=Wink /> My room is large enough to house my office and all the other odds and ends with which I like to surround myself.<br /><br />During tax season, mostly, my room is always full (of course I love it that way)! I have a blanket my daughter bought for me in New Mexico and that is on my bed. You guessed it - that is where everbody sits or on my great grandfather's arm chair which is in great shape. <img title=Smile src=/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/img/smiley-smile.gif border=0 alt=Smile /> Update 01/11/2008 that time is here again :) Have started doing taxes already and not just regular taxes but corporations, partnerships and 1040X - ammended returns! Whoopee! I love the feeling I get when this time comes around and I get into gear!!! I love it! :) <br /><br />The head chef, the kitchen supervisor & the dietician enjoy the recipes from Zaar; the ones that I post, as well as, the others. We are in the process of changing the menu right now - so we have been doing a lot of figuring. The administrator is so cute because every once in a while she asks for a recipe and then she gives me a pack of paper so I can print them. <img title=Wink src=/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/img/smiley-wink.gif border=0 alt=Wink /><br /><br />I am president of the resident council and most of the family members come to me to take care of their grievances - this way I do my part - and the staff can take care of the larger problems! It has been working for 10 years - why change if it ain't broke?<img title=Wink src=/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/img/smiley-wink.gif border=0 alt=Wink /></p> <p>Well, it's time to say hasta luego folks. <img title=Laughing src=/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/img/smiley-laughing.gif border=0 alt=Laughing /><br /><br /></p>