Favorite Mac & Cheese
I combined a few recipes and tweaked this enough to call it mine now. If there's another one out there that's more over-the-top, rich, and caloric, I haven't found it--but it's mac & cheese, so who worries about that anyhow?
Better Than Sex Mac ‘N’ Cheese
4 strips bacon, cooked crisp, drained and chopped fine
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup amber ale
2 cups half and half
2 packages (16 ounces) cream cheese, cut into chunks
8 oz. aged Gouda, shredded
8 oz. sharp white cheddar, shredded
8 oz. Stilton or Gorgonzola, crumbled
2 cups grated Parmesan, divided
1 box (16-ounce) penne pasta, cooked and drained
Salt and pepper
1 cup panko or bread crumbs
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the bacon and set aside.
In a large, heavy-bottom pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a light roux. Slowly whisk in the ale and half and half.
Add the cream cheese, stirring until melted and incorporated. Add the Gouda, cheddar, blue cheese, and 1 cup Parmesan, a little at a time, stirring until melted. Stir in bacon. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired with salt and pepper (some of the cheese will be salty and the mixture may need only a little salt, if any). Stir in the pasta.
Pour the mixture into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Mix the remaining 1 cup Parmesan cheese and panko crumbs and sprinkle over the dish. Place the dish in the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the toppings are crisp and golden, about 1 hour. Cool slightly before serving.