【N.J】 This five-cheese mac & cheese (with bacon!) will make dinner grate again – – – New Jersey News

#fivecheese #mac #cheese #bacon #dinner #grate #-

Amy Drew Thompson | Orlando Sentinel

“This is the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had,” The Beau joked.

I say “joked” because he was eating tteokbokki. So for the record, right now, Doshi, a Korean restaurant — and its molten cheese-smothered rice cakes — is his pick for the best “mac and cheese” in Orlando. And mine, too.

Outside my kitchen, that is.

Best mac and cheese recipe I've ever made. Even stays creamy on the reheat. That's winning! (Amy Drew Thompson/Orlando Sentinel)
Best mac and cheese recipe I’ve ever made. Even stays creamy on the reheat. That’s winning! (Amy Drew Thompson/Orlando Sentinel)

I’m not going to brag about this recipe at all. It’s not mine. But the cheesy tteokbokki incident (which I’ll discuss further in a future piece about Doshi) got me thinking about the preponderance of subpar mac and cheese out there — so much that it is a common topic of discussion in my circle — and it inspired me to dig out a recipe I hadn’t made in forever.

Because mac and cheese is not a diet food. Especially this one. And I eat enough already.

I discovered this recipe the same way I imagine many at-home moms do: via daytime TV. Back in the late aughts, when my youngest wasn’t quite six months old yet, the Food Network — Rachael Ray and Tyler Florence had seen me through my firstborn’s earliest days — was dipping its toe into something that’s now beyond ubiquitous: competition shows. And it was on “Ultimate Recipe Showdown,” a Guy Fieri joint, that I discovered Rick Massa’s Cheese Lovers 5 Cheese Mac & Cheese recipe.

The former L.A.P.D. SWAT team member nailed a very close competition with the dish, winning $25,000 with his recipe, which was tweaked slightly and put on the menu at T.G.I. Friday’s. I don’t think the original needs a tweak at all, though. I made it for a 50-year-old and a 13-year-old and it drew equal raves. Why? Duh. Five cheeses.

Creamy Fontina, assertive Gruyere, earthy-funky Gorgonzola (Massa used Maytag Blue in his), nutty Parmesan and the bite of white Cheddar. At Publix — buying basic brands like Bel Gioioso and Boar’s Head — it’s about $30 worth of cheese, but you will have loads left over for a formidable Friday-night cheese board.

Oh, and the bacon doesn’t hurt, either. Fried crisp, then removed and diced up to fold in later, you’ll throw some diced onions in the bacon fat before adding butter, making a roux and pouring in a trough or so of whole milk and heavy cream that will simmer with bay leaf and thyme. Instructions would have you straining the solid bits, but I just fish out the herbs before turning it all into a delicious molten mess that’s, well, fit for Doshi’s tteokbokki, actually.

The Beau noted a White Castle-esque quality the first time I made it, which he attributed — positively — to the onions. I like the light bit of texture they afford this creamy-ridiculous dish. It’s another layer beyond the breadcrumb topping.

There’s a bit of prep here, but it’s not rocket science, it’s roux. Get that right and you can’t lose.

I know many of you will have suggestions on where to find Orlando’s best mac and cheese. And I’m open. Just don’t try and sell me on the lobster version. It’s never going to happen.

Find me on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter or Instagram @amydroo or on the OSFoodie Instagram account @orlando.foodie. Email: amthompson@orlandosentinel.com. For more foodie fun, join the Let’s Eat, Orlando Facebook group.

So much cheese, so little time. This mac requires a significant purchase but will leave plenty leftover for other cheesy pursuits. (Amy Drew Thompson/Orlando Sentinel)
So much cheese, so little time. This mac requires a significant purchase but will leave plenty leftover for other cheesy pursuits. (Amy Drew Thompson/Orlando Sentinel)

Cheese Lovers 5 Cheese Mac and Cheese

Recipe courtesy of Rick Massa


Kosher salt1 16-ounce package macaroni (cellentani or other curly noodle)1/4 pound bacon, diced1 medium onion, diced5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to butter baking dish6 tablespoons all-purpose flour1 tablespoon Dijon mustard2 1/2 cups whole milk2 cups heavy cream1 sprig fresh thyme1 bay leaf1/2 teaspoon salt1 1/2 cups grated fontina1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese3/4 cup grated Gruyere3/4 cup grated white Cheddar (Australian)3/4 cup grated Parmesan3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley1/4 cup bread crumbsInstructions

Preheat oven to 450 F. Butter a 9×13 glass baking dish.Bring large pot of water to boil and add salt. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain.In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, saute bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Saute onion in the bacon drippings until soft. Add 5 tablespoons butter to onion mixture and melt butter, stirring with a wooden spoon.Using a whisk, add the flour, and stir constantly until well mixed with the fat, making a roux. Whisk in mustard. Gradually add milk and cream, whisking constantly.Add thyme, bay leaf, and salt. Let simmer and stir frequently for 15 minutes.Strain hot milk mixture into a metal bowl and discard the solids. Working quickly, mix in 1 cup fontina, blue cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere, 1/2 cup white Cheddar, 1/2 cup Parmesan, the reserved bacon and parsley. Continue to stir until all cheese is melted.Add cooked macaroni to the cheese mixture to coat. Add mixture to prepared baking dish. Mix the remaining cheese and bread crumbs together and sprinkle on top of macaroni. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown. Remove from oven when done and rest for 5 minutes.

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