Coming home from producing our show’s Cinco de Mayo episode, I decided to celebrate all things queso!
There’s some serious cheese going on here, folks. You need to be warned… I mean truly warned. Take a good look at the photo below and ask yourself, “Do I have the fortitude to take on this recipe?” All of the cheese in the photo below was grated and melted into a mere 12 ounces of penne rigate to create the finished product. You’ve been told.
And it doesn’t stop there. There’s also butter! There’s also bacon! There’s also the fat from the bacon! There’s also white flour. There’s also fresh sage, parsley, oregano and rosemary. Some of that counts as vegetables, right?
Am I leaving anything out. Oh yeah! I accidentally doubled the amount of butter required by the recipe. Oops! I swear, it was unintentional. And guess what, it totally didn’t ruin the meal! Who’d have thought it?
I started preparing this at about 8:00 in the evening. I started eating it at about 9. By about 10, I was speaking in tongues and levitating three feet off the floor
The recipe can be found at StephenCooks.com, so send your thank you cards and/or the pants you are about to no longer be able to fit into his direction, not mine. I didn’t come up with this. I merely used it on a lonely Wednesday night to fill a hole in my heart. Cheese is really the best way to overcome such things, don’t you think?
So take a read below for how to get ‘er done, and then head to the store for the ingredients you’re missing, because if you have this much cheese just sitting around your house already, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be spending your time reading blog posts.
I will leave the cheeses Stephen used in the recipe below and let you know my substitutions next to them.
Herby Macaroni and Three Cheeses
Serves 6 – 8.
- 6 oz Taleggio cheese, shredded (I subbed in 6 oz of Boar’s Head Muenster)
- 6 oz sharp imported Provolone cheese, shredded (I subbed in 4 oz of Boar’s Head Horseradish Cheddar along with 4 oz. mozzarella)
- 4 oz Parmeggiano Reggiano, shredded
- 2 tbsp fresh sage, minced
- 3 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 4 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
- 4 strips thick cut bacon (about 4 oz)
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 oz elbow macaroni or penne rigate
- hot sauce (I used Day of the Dead habanero)
Toss the shredded cheeses and add the herbs until well-mixed. Divide the mixture into two bowls, with approximately 10 ounces of the mixture in one bowl and the remainder in the other.
Cook the bacon. Drain on paper towel and chop.
Warm the milk in a small saucepan.
Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the sauté pan. Add the butter to the sauté pan and melt over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides, scatter in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. If you really want to take it over the top, add the unused bacon fat into the warming milk and stir well.
Pour in the milk and cook, stirring, until the sauce is smooth and thick. Mix in the separated 10 ounces of cheese, one handful at a time, stirring t0 melt before adding the next handful.
Cook and stir until smooth. Add the salt and dry mustard and stir to mix.
Add hot sauce to taste and correct seasoning.I probably worked in about 1 half tablespoon total, but could have taken it a little further without it overpowering the finished flavor.
Cook the pasta just beyond al dente and drain. Add the chopped bacon to the cheese sauce and mix the sauce with the macaroni. Pour into a buttered casserole or baking dish. Scatter the remaining cheese/herb mixture over the macaroni and bake in a preheated 425º oven about 20-25 minutes (keep a good eye on it).
Finish the dish in the broiler for 2-3 minutes (again, keep a good eye on it). When the top is your desired degree of browned and crispy, remove from the oven and let cool for approximately 5 minutes before serving.