Macaroni and Cheese

I have decided to move my blog over to a new home. While I will still maintain "The Enlightened Chef", any and all new recipes, and thoughts will be found at "Low Country Larder"

The other day I made one of my most favorite foods on Earth: Macaroni and Cheese. It is the ultimate comfort food. Pasta, cheese, and not much of anything else. How can you not love that?!?

The mac & cheese recipe is so easy and so yummy, that I thought I'd share it with everyone. So here it is...

Chef Julie's Amazing Mac & Cheese

8 ounces elbow macaroni
6-8 strips of bacon-diced small
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
2 cups milk
1 cup heavu cream
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 large egg
16 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a cast iron skillet (or a nonstick pan if you don't own any cast iron) over medium low heat cook the bacon 12-14 minutes until all the fat is rendered out of the bacon and the little bits left are very crisp.

Drain the bacon bits on a paper towel and set aside.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook at medium-low for 10-12 minutes until they are golden brown. Whisk in the flour and whisk vigorously, making sure it's free of lumps.

Stir in the milk, cream, onion, and paprika. Simmer at medium low for about ten minutes-stirring often.

Temper in the egg (see *how to temper below).

Stir in 3/4 of the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Fold the bacon, and macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

 Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

*To temper an egg, or multiple eggs, you need a large bowl and a whisk. Give the eggs a brief whisk in the bowl. Take your hot liquid mixture and, working with just a quarter cup at a time, pour it into the eggs as you whisk continuously. Adding the liquid slowly prevents the eggs from being cooked instantly-and thus turning into scrambled eggs-from exposure to heat. Keep adding the milk in small increments until half of it has been added. Then add the remaining liquid in a steady stream. Strain the egg mixture with a mesh strainer back into your saucepan, removing any bits of egg that might have gotten cooked, or sheels that strayed into your sauce, and proceed with your recipe as written.

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