Mac and cheese is one of my all-time favorite meals to eat and was the star of the show for my Christmas Eve dinner this year. Of the dozens of mac and cheese recipes in the drafts section of my blog, I decided to go with a recipe my grandma clipped from Parade magazine featuring bacon and chipotle – two of my flavor favorites.
- 1 (16-oz) box elbow macaroni or other short pasta
- 1 stick (½ c.) butter
- 7 T. all-purpose flour
- 2 c. half-and-half
- 3 c. whole milk
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 T. spicy brown mustard
- 8 to 12 oz Mexican-style cheese, shredded and/or crumbled (I used cheddar, Monterey jack, cojita and queso fresco), plus additional cheese for the top (optional)
- 3 T. chopped chipotle chiles in adobo
- 6 slices cut into thin strips, cooked through
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cook macaroni in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. (I cooked only half of the time recommended on the box knowing the noodles would finish cooking in the oven.) Drain and return to pot.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in half-and-half, milk, salt, pepper, mustard, and half the cheese. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Pour sauce over macaroni. Stir in chiles, bacon, and remaining cheese. Mix well.
- Transfer to baking dish. Top with additional cheese (if using – but why wouldn’t you be adding more cheese here?). Bake for 45 minutes or until very hot. Broil for 1 minute to brown top, if desired.
The first time I ever made a chipotle mac and cheese was the Beecher’s recipe, which went over really well. There’s something extra tasty about chipotle mac and cheese.
When I poured the sauce over the noodles prior to cooking, there was a sh*t ton of sauce. So much sauce, in fact, that it looked like mac and cheese soup. All of that sauce absorbed into the noodles while baking. ALL of the sauce. This left the noodles dry. I was pissed. My dad thought they were great.
To remedy the “dry” noodles, I stirred in some milk when serving. This fixed the problem. Though I’d rather have a creamy noodle bake right out of the oven and not have to create it afterward. Every baked mac and cheese dish I’ve made recently has turned out exactly the same: slightly dried out from all of the sauce having been absorbed into the noodles while baking. Maybe I should stick to stove top mac and cheese instead.