This grown up mac and cheese recipe from Ina Garten shows how this dish isn't just for the kids! Bacon and a mixture of cheeses give it a 'wow' factor the adults will love!
Who says that mac and cheese is just for the kids?
But we have to admit that Ina Garten's grown up mac and cheese really is something rather special!
The addition of bacon totally elevates the dish - but, let's face it, what DOESN'T taste better with bacon?
But what really adds a little sophistication to this recipe and sets it apart as one for the grown ups is the blend of cheeses it contains.
Extra sharp cheddar provides a robust flavor, and the Gruyere lends a certain nuttiness to the dish. The blue cheese, meanwhile, brings a gorgeous pungency to this mac and cheese - and once you've tried it this way, you may never settle for plain old mac and cheese again!
Which type of blue cheese should I use?
There are lots of varieties of blue cheeses on the market, which range in flavor from relatively mild (like Danish Blue and Gorgonzola) to in-your-face tangy and delicious (like Roquefort and Maytag).
For this recipe, we'd recommend a stronger blue cheese - the other cheeses in the recipe help balance the flavor, so it's not overwhelming, just robust!
Making bread crumbs
When you see fresh bread crumbs in a recipe (like this one), don't be tempted to reach for a pack of store-bought dried bread crumbs. The texture is totally different. Making your own fresh bread crumbs is easy, but it can be a pain if you have to make them separately for every recipe that calls for them.
That's why we recommend making them in bulk. Just prepare as many slices of bread at a time as you wish, although we suggest processing 2 at a time. That way, you can store 2 slices-worth of bread crumbs individually, making it easy to grab just the amount you need for a specific recipe.
Once you've made your bread crumbs (either by whizzing the slices in a food processor, as described in this recipe, or by grating a stale loaf of bread), you can freeze them in zip top bags for up to 3 months. Thaw them thoroughly in the fridge before use.