A few years ago Good Morning America ran some kind of competition to find the best Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Emeril Lagasse got involved and it was a big production. My mother and I made the winning recipe one night for dinner and I haven’t been able to forget about it since.
This year for our annual Easter brunch Dana and I decided to do a Mac and Cheese side dish, and I knew exactly which recipe I wanted to make. I hopped on the Googles for a quick search through the interwebs, and found the recipe I was looking for. I went to pin it on Pinterest, but realized there were no pictures of the recipe. So, here I am to post a copy of the recipe (with some modifications) and some pictures of the final result.
Emeril’s Best Mac’n’Cheese
- 1 head of garlic, roasted
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound Cavatappi pasta
- ½ pound sliced Applewood smoked bacon
- 1 ½ cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 8 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup minced shallots
- ½ cup flour
- 1 quart whole milk
- 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
- 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 375, and roast the whole head of garlic with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil in aluminum foil . Squeeze out and mash all the roasted garlic. Cook the bacon. Set aside. Drain all but 1Tbsp of the bacon grease. To make the topping, mix the bread crumps, parmesian cheese, crumbled bacon and 2Tbsp of the butter (melted).
Cook up your pasta  and drain according to package directions (maybe cut a minute off, because we have to bake it)
In the grease, and the remaining butter and shallots over low heat. Cook until the shallots are translucent. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes to form a roux. Bump the stove up to medium, and whisk in the milk and garlic paste. Continue whisking until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining salt, pepper, nutmeg and the Cheddar and Gruyere cheeses.
Mix in the pasta. Mix well. Spread into a 9×13 baking pan. Cover with an even coating of the topping.
Bake, covered, for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Eat way too much. Tell yourself that your diet starts tomorrow. Seriously.
The version I produced suffered from the lack of roasted garlic. However, it was still fantastic and drew several compliments. By the end of the day, the dish was empty. The cheddar and gruyere combination works extremely well, but the cost of the cheese is a little higher than the usual Velveta. The time and effort to prepare this recipe is pretty high compared to others we’ve tried, but the results are definitely better than others too. If you’ve got the time to spare, definitely consider this one for your next event.
- Or you can be like me. We didn’t have any aluminum foil so we used parchment paper instead. The garlic didn’t roast, but instead got burned and crispy. It ended up in the trash and the final product had an emergency dash of garlic powder added instead.
- The original recipe called for Cavatappi pasta. We used something else that I don’t remember the name of. So long as you aren’t using a long noodle (linguini or spaghetti, for example), you should be fine. Penne, elbows, farfalle, whatever you want.