Every food-obsessed person in New York City probably knows—and loves—The Smith’s mac and cheese for its wickedly rich and cheesy excellence. The mini restaurant empire’s executive chef Brian Ellis amps up the dish’s classic comfort by inviting bacon to the party and deep-frying panko crumb-coated balls of mac and cheese on a stick. The secret to its over-the-top lusciousness? A classic French Mornay sauce (a close cousin to béchamel) that combines fontina, cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan. Strings of gooey cheese stretch from the stick to your mouth with every bite.
Breakfast Mac and Cheese on a Stick
For the Mornay sauce
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
12 ounces mixed cheese (equal parts fontina, cheddar, and Swiss)
1 ½ cups grated Grana Padano cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the pasta
12 cups water
1 ⅓ tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups (8 ounces) dry elbow macaroni
For the candied bacon
2 slabs bacon (Ellis prefers Neuske's)
¼ cup sugar in the raw
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
For the dredge
2 cups flour
2 cups panko
How to Make It
Make the Mornay sauce. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Create a quicksand consistency, stirring for 5 minutes. In a separate pot, heat the milk and cream for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add hot milk and cream slowly into the flour and butter and continue to mix. Remove from heat and fold in the cheese. Reserve
Make the pasta. In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil and add salt. Once the water is boiling, add pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Strain the pasta and add to the Mornay sauce.
Make the candied bacon. Dice the slab of bacon in small even pieces. Toss together in a mixing bowl with pepper and sugar. Lay on a lined sheet tray and cook at 275°F until rendered and golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Once cooled, roughly chop into fine pieces.
Fry the mac and cheese balls. Add candied bacon to the mac and cheese. Take a handful of the mac and cheese and form into golf ball-sized balls. Bread and fry at 375°F in a shallow skillet, turning halfway through, until golden brown for about 3 minutes. Check the center to see if it’s hot with a cake tester. Sprinkle with kosher salt and skewer. Serve and enjoy!
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