Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese

Soo the classic comfort food, Macaroni and Cheese... It's one of my favorites, and probably one of your too... but it needs a little something more to be a meal for a REAL man...

It needs....

It needs...

And so that's what we're gonna give it. If this doesn't fill you up, nothing will.


1 pound macaroni (or other pasta)
1 pound bacon
1 pound extra lean ground beef, or cubed boneless chicken
1 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 pound grated parmaggiano (romano and asiago acceptable)
1/2 pound crumbled feta
2-3 cups whole milk
2 large bell peppers (one red, one green), diced 1/4-1/2" (optional)
2 large tomatos (beefsteak, or similar sized heirloom - optional)
1/2 cup shallots, minced (optional)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup bacon grease (from cooking the bacon)
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon powdered mustard
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350, and boil enough water to prepare your pasta (varies depending on pasta).

Boil the pasta in water with a little salt, oil, and vinegar to a firm al dente consistency.

While the pasta is boiling, cook the bacon to medium crispy, and drain off and save the grease. Measure out 1/4 cup of the grease and 2 tablespoons of butter into a saucepan.

If you are using chicken, saute in bacon grease, butter, and a little olive oil until medium brown, and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, paprika, and lemon juice while cooking.

If you are using ground beef, drain well and season while cooking as with chicken, plus a bit of balsamic vinegar for flavor. For either meat, drain well after cooking.

If you are including the vegetables, saute the peppers and shallots when the meat starts to brown, and then sweat the tomatos for about 2 minutes at the end of cooking.

In the sauce pan with the butter and bacon grease, make a white flour roux. Whisk the butter and grease over a medium heat, and move constantly until the butter begins to brown. Whisk in a little balsamic vinegar and then whisk in the flour, mustard seed, and some black pepper and paprika. Over low heat, keep whisking for about five minutes, until the flour is cooked but not thickened. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more bacon grease. If too thin, add flour (carefully). If it begins to clot or burn, reduce the heat and add a bit more butter or grease, and a bit of milk. When done the mixture should be light golden brown, and a thick creamy texture.

Lightly beat the eggs, then incorporate them thoroughly into the milk (alternately, temper the beaten egg mixture by beating some of the roux into it, then fold the tempered mixture back in and whisk for 2 minutes or so - this will ensure that no raw egg is in the sauce if necessary). Whisk 1 cup of the milk egg mixture into the roux on a medium-low heat, and begin incorporating the cheese Slowly add a total of 3/4 of the cheese, and the rest of the milk, incorporating and smoothing the mixture thoroughly as you go. Incorporate the rest of the seasonings in this process.

Once the cheese has been incorporated stir on the heat for about 2 minutes, and crumble in the drained bacon. Then the ground beef, or sauteed chicken, and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Drain but do not wash the pasta, and combine the pasta and sauce mixture together in the pot.

Heat a little butter and bacon grease in the pan, and lightly toss the breadcrumbs in the mixture over the heat.

Lightly coat the bottom of a 9x12 deep baking pan (or similar size) with the breadcrumb mixture, and sprinkle a full layer of cheese over it. Pour in the macaroni mixture, then cover with breadcrumbs and the remainder of the shredded jack and cheddar. Sprinkle parmaggiano and crumbled feta over the top, and bake at 350 until the cheese forms a crust with dark brown edges and peaks.

This recipe serves 4-6 people as a full (large) meal, and 8 as a side dish. If served as a main dish, I highly recommend making some bacon grease cornbread to go with it. It's carb-tastic!

Oh and cornbread makes a GREAT bread topping instead of standard bread crumbs.

And be sure to check out:

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 12 - Lard Ass Wings
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the meat stupid
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 9 - Labor Day Potatos
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 8 - It's a pork fat thing
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 7 - It may not be Kosher...
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 6 - Andouille Guiness Chili
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 5 - Eazza the Ultimate Pizza
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 4 - Two Pound Meat Sauce
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 3 - Highbrow Hash
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 2 - MuscleCarbonara
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 1 - More Beef than Stew