Classic Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Bacon, Aged Cheddar and Fresh Sage -
It’s that time of year when evenings call for some good old fashioned comfort food, and this recipe sure fits the bill. Don’t skimp on the quality of cheese that you use – it makes a big difference! Enjoy with our newest release, San Marcos Creek Vineyard’s 2004 “Sapphire”. (Makes 6 generous servings.)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces smoked bacon (or pancetta), 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 (whole or 2%)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 5 cups grated aged sharp Cheddar, divided
- Kosher salt and 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 large baking dish 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 large pot of boiling salted water, cook elbow macaroni until al dente, about 8 minutes. Strain, toss lightly in olive oil, reserve.
In a saucepan on medium-high heat, sauté 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 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 dish. Top with remaining cheese and place dish on baking tray and place in oven. Bake until golden brown, about 20 – 25 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes, garnish with parsley and sage leaves and serve!