From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I found tonight's recipe in a book I was sent several month's ago. It's called The Way We Ate, and it is a compendium of treasured recipes from the last century. When I came to Gael Greene's recipe for "Almost Like Mom's Macaroni and Cheese", it sounded familiar to me, so I did a search of my blog to make sure I had not already featured her recipe. As it happens, I had not, but a blogging friend, Lynda Thompson, had published it on her blog There and Back Again. I read her comments about the recipe and while she did not give it a rave review, she was generally positive about the finished mac n' cheese. This recipe originally attracted me because it was scaled to feed 2 people and I thought it would be a perfect fit for a Table for Two feature. Encouraged by Lynda's comments, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. This is an extremely easy dish to make and the casserole was table ready in less than an hour. It has a wonderful flavor, but like Lynda, I found the casserole to be dry. So, if you prefer your mac n' cheese to be creamy, I suspect you may be disappointed with this version. If you like your mac n' cheese with a baked and crusty topping, you will love this flavorful creation. Feel free to experiment with the cheeses you use. Gael's mother originally made her dish with Velveeta cheese, so it's fair to say that just about anything goes. I urge those of you who enjoy a crusty mac n' cheese to give this recipe a try. Here is how it's made.
Mac n' Cheese for Two...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Gael Greene
2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1⁄2 pound small elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon salt
2-1⁄2 cups shredded or chopped firm cheese such as sharp cheddar or Emmentaler (originally Velveeta was used)
1⁄2 cup snipped crisp bacon
1 cup whole milk
1-1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup fine dry bed crumbs or panko
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. coat bottom and sides of a shallow 6-cup metal baking dish with olive oil. Set aside.
2) Bring several quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Boil macaroni until just tender. Drain well. Immediately turn macaroni into prepared baking dish. Toss macaroni with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Then add cheese, bacon, milk, salt, and freshly ground pepper and mix well.
3) Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven, close oven door, and stir. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle top with fresh bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake another 15 minutes. If there is still some milk in the bottom, return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes. If topping has not browned and crisped, place it under broiler (three or four inches away from heat) and brown, watching so it doesn’t burn. Yield: 2 main course or 4 side dish servings.
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