Hugh's Southern Mac and Cheese
Hugh Acheson's Southern Mac and Cheese combines 2-year-old aged Cheddar cheese with Gruyere cheese, diced bacon, and leeks. The results are a deliciously baked Southern classic that's finished with a drizzle of heavy cream and toasted breadcrumbs.
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Total: 1 Hour, 35 Minutes
- 1/4 pound thick bacon slices, diced (about 4 slices)
- 2 medium leeks, cut into 1/2-inch rounds (about 1 cup)
- 1/3 (16-oz.) package uncooked cavatappi pasta
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk, warmed
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch of ground red pepper
- 1 cup (4 oz.) freshly grated 2-year-old aged Cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Gruyère cheese
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 cup toasted soft, fresh breadcrumbs
- 1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels. Discard drippings.
- 2. Cook leeks in 4-qt. boiling water in a large Dutch oven 5 minutes. Remove leeks with a slotted spoon, reserving boiling water in Dutch oven. Plunge leeks into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain.
- 3. Add pasta to boiling water, and cook 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain.
- 4. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and whisk in flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes or until golden brown. Slowly whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 3 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in dry mustard, next 3 ingredients, and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Season with salt to taste.
- 5. Gently stir together pasta, cheese sauce, half each of cooked bacon and leeks, and egg yolk. Stir in Gruyère cheese and remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Spoon pasta mixture into a buttered 8-inch cast-iron skillet, and sprinkle with remaining bacon and leeks. Drizzle with cream; sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
- 6. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
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