Classic Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Bacon, Aged Cheddar and Fresh Sage
- 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces smoked bacon, chopped
- 1 pound dried elbow macaroni
- Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
- 1 cup finely diced Vidalia onion
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 5 cups grated aged sharp Cheddar, divided
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan, divided
- Kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves, plus leaves for garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, plus leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat 2 baking dishes with the butter.
Place chopped bacon on a baking sheet and cook in oven until half cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain off excess grease, reserve bacon.
In a saucepan, on medium-high heat, saute bacon with a light amount of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent then add the garlic. Dust with flour, whisk in milk, cream, nutmeg, and mustard powder. Bring to simmer stirring constantly for several minutes. Whisk in 4 cups of Cheddar and half a cup of Parmesan. Stir until all the cheese is melted. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Fold in the pasta, sage and parsley.
Place into buttered baking dishes. Top with remaining cheeses and place dishes on baking tray and place in the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes, garnish with parsley and sage leaves and serve!
Professional Recipe: This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe in the proportions indicated and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.
Recipe courtesy Derek Wagner, Providence, Rhode Island, 2007