My Twist on Gourmet Mac n’ Cheese

When I think of the ultimate comfort food, pasta comes to mind quickly followed by (and this might not be everyone but it’s in my gene…I’m French) cheese! It might not come as a surprise then that over the years, I’ve enjoyed perfecting my very own recipe for the ultimate Mac n’ Cheese.

Gourmet Mac n’ Cheese

  • 2 cups of rotini pasta
  • 4 thick strips of bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 4 brown mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp of flour
  • 2 cups of milk at room temperature.
  • 1 ½ cup of cheese (I like to change it up but usually prefer any smoked variety – smoked Cheddar, smoked Gouda…)
  • ½ tsp of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • Salt and pepper

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  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and olive oil. Add in the rotini pasta and cook al dente as per package instructions. Once ready, strain the pasta and let cold water run through to stop the cooking. Set aside and keep the pot as you will need it at the end.
  2. In a hot pan, fry the strips of bacon until just crispy. Take out of the pan and let sit on paper towel to take out excess oil. Once cool enough, cut into small bits and keep aside.
  3. Keep about 1 tbsp of the bacon fat into the pan. On medium-high heat, add in the chopped onions. Fry for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until caramelized to a golden brown. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
  4. In the same pan, on medium heat, add the chopped mushroom. Add in a splash of olive oil if needed. Cooking for a few minutes and stirring occasionally. Once cooked down, add the broccoli and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and take off the heat.
  5. Remember the large pot? On medium heat, melt the butter. As soon as it is fully melted, lower the heat and add in the flour. Stir well until you get a thick smooth texture. Sprinkle in the rosemary and use a garlic press to add in the garlic. Continue to cook for 30 seconds. Congrats! You’ve made a roux and it should have slightly browned.
  6. Pour the milk and continue to stir until you get a smooth, creamy sauce. Add in the cheese and let it melt.
  7. Time to spice things up. Add in the mustard, nutmeg and chili powder. Salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Very important step – quality test your sauce and add ingredients as needed. This is not an exact recipe so add in a bit of chili powder if you like spicy, a bit of nutmeg for that “je ne sais quoi”. Whatever tastes good to you!
  2. Add it the pasta. Stir until fully covered by cheese sauce. Stir in the onions and then the broccoli and mushrooms last.
  3. Pour into a bowl, sprinkle with bacon and a bit of extra rosemary. Enjoy when hot!
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I served my mac n’ cheese with a side of fresh greens and a carrot cupcake for a special Easter SIDEWALK supper. Check it out here.
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You can find the recipe for those delicious carrot cupcakes here.

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