this week in our kitchen: adult mac and cheese

What does one do when they have a variety of cheeses leftover from a house party? Why, make mac and cheese — of course!

If you’re looking for a healthy, light meal, you should probably move on because this beauty is guilty pleasure + comfort food at it’s best. But, after you expend numerous calories shredding and chopping and whipping, you’ve basically earned it. There’s only one thing left to say — enjoy (because I don’t know how you wouldn’t)!

ADULT MAC AND CHEESE

Adapted from MyGourmetConnection.com
Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes / Serves 6

The What

  • 1 lb pipette (or other medium-sized, ridged cut of pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot (about 3 tablespoons), finely chopped, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 4 slices cooked bacon — the smokier, the better
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons herbes de Provence, divided
  • 3-3/4 cups whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (white or black)
  • We loosely followed the recipe referenced above, which called for the cheese below, but we used a variety of goat, sheep, swiss and whatever else we had left over from our party (~1.12 lbs. total)
    • 8 ounces Ossau-Iraty (or other French sheep’s milk cheese, see notes), coarsely grated
    • 6 ounces chèvre (goat cheese), softened
    • 3 ounces Mimolette, coarsely grated, divided (see notes)
  • 3/4 cup panko crumbs

The How

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pipette and cook until tender but not soft (al dente). Drain and set aside.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously butter a 2-1/2 to 3-quart baking dish.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add 2/3 of the shallot (2 tablespoons) and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ham and continue cooking 1 minute. Add the wine and 2 teaspoons of the herbes de Provence and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, set aside and wipe out the pan.

  4. Heat the milk in a separate saucepan until very warm, but not scalded. Set aside.

  5. Return the saucepan to the stove and melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and blend with a whisk until well combined. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture develops a pale golden color, 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually add the warmed milk, whisking continually until well blended.

  6. Continue cooking, whisking frequently, until the sauce is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 7 to 8 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the pan with a spatula once or twice during cooking to ensure there are no lumps in your sauce.

  7. Reduce the heat to low, add the Ossau-Iraty and stir until completely melted. Add the goat cheese, stir until melted, then add the ham mixture and combine well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in 1 teaspoon of the herbes de Provence. Taste again and adjust the amount of herbes de Provence to your liking (we used an additional teaspoon).

  8. Add the pasta, combine well and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

  9. While the macaroni bakes, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining shallot and sauté until slightly softened, 1 minute. Add the panko crumbs and toss to combine. Continue cooking, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, add the remaining Mimolette and combine well.

  10. Remove the macaroni from the oven, top with the crumb mixture and return to the oven until the topping is crisp and golden, 6 to 8 minutes.

  11. Allow the macaroni and cheese to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

  12. Enjoy!

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