Dan's mac and cheese

Dan is my boyfriend. He is great, but I won't go in to that here because he reads this and it would go to his head. He doesn't cook very often and claims he isn't very talented, but I have seen proof to the contrary. He will help me cook though, and we do this fairly often. We've gotten quite proficient at making pizza (there will be posts about our pizza in the future, I'm sure). Dan loves mac and cheese; his favorite used to be blue cheese mac and cheese from the Blue Onion (which is unfortunately now closed). This recipe is my attempt to claim the favorite spot.

Most recipes for mac and cheese call for so much cheese, it makes my heart hurt just looking at it. I used less than half the cheese and it was still plenty cheesy. Blue cheese is not my favorite so I only used about a quarter of a cup, but it mellows out a lot when it cooks so next time I'll use more. If blue cheese isn't your thing either and you aren't trying to impress your boyfriend, you should use any cheese you want.

Now, just macaroni with bubbly cheese is plenty enjoyable. But maybe a little boring. And this is a contender for the best mac and cheese ever, so we can't have boring. To reach maximum delciousness I added some bacon and broccoli and red onion and spices. This recipe can and should be modified based on personal preference. If bacon and broccoli does not sound appealing use anything else (peas and ham, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach whatever) or if you're a purist just mac and cheese.

Dan's mac and cheese

1/2 lb macaroni
1/2 cup breadcrumbs + 1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 onion, sauteed until soft
5 slices bacon, fried, grease reserved
head broccoli
1-2 cups cheese (gruyere, blue cheese, cheddar, parmesan, chevre, fontina etc.)
1. Cook macaroni for half the time indicated.
2. Heat bacon grease and add enough butter to make 2 tbsp. Add flour and stir until golden brown.
3. Add milk to form a white sauce. Stir in spices. Stir over med heat for 3-5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and add most of the cheese (save a handful for sprinkling on top). Stir until melted. Add the broccoli, most of the onion and bacon (save some for sprinkling on top).
5. Add macaroni, stir until coated.
6. Place in buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, reserved cheese, bacon and onions.
7. Cook at 375 degrees until golden brown and bubbly (about 20 minutes).
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