Mac and Cheese from Scratch

This recipe is brought to you by Vanessa Armstrong. This recipe serves 4.

What You Need:

  1. 4 strips of bacon (save the drippings)
  2. 2 Tablespoons flour
  3. 2 cups milk
  4. 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  5. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  6. 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  7. 1 small onion or 1 shallot
  8. 1 bay leaf
  9. 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  10. salt and pepper to taste
  11. 1 cup diced cauliflower
  12. 8 oz. elbow macaroni

What You Do:

  1. Boil enough water to cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Fry or bake the bacon strips until brown and crispy, set aside and reserve the drippings.
  3. In a medium saucepan heat the bacon drippings (you will need at least 2 Tablespoons, supplement with butter if there isn’t enough), add the flour and whisk until combined with the bacon drippings. Cook on medium heat for about 1 min.
  4. Add the milk to the saucepan 1/2 cup at a time, whisking to mix and remove clumps in between additions.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium low.
  6. Add your dijon, paprika, and chili flakes, stir to combine.
  7. Slice your onion or shallot in half through the root (so that is stays together), add this and your bay leaf to the saucepan.
  8. Heat the sauce for about 10 mins on a gentle simmer until it has thickened.
  9. Remove the onion or shallot, and the bay leaf and discard.
  10. Take the sauce off the heat and add the cheese, stir to combine.
  11. When you add the pasta to the boiling water, add the cauliflower in the final 2 minutes of cook time. Strain the pasta and cauliflower and add to the sauce.
  12. Crumble the bacon into the mac and cheese, serve, and enjoy!