When Brad and I started dating, he used to make me his grandmother's version of homemade mac and cheese. It involved a LOT of Velveeta, milk, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Oh goodness. To this day, I crave that stuff. Partly because it was delicious and partly because it is something only Brad has made for me. (As it turns out, the key to my heart is through my stomach...)
It's been quite some time since I made homemade macaroni and cheese, so when I got Lauren Grier's cookbook, Modern Comfort Cooking, in the mail a couple weeks ago and came across this bacon and kimchi mac recipe, I knew I had to make it. Lucky for me, it was even more delicious than I anticipated! And lucky for you, you can make this in your very own kitchen! My suggestion: whip up two batches and gift one, along with Lauren's cookbook, to them for the holidays.
I used Tillamook shredded sharp cheddar and Ozuké kimchi and the result was a perfectly creamy, cheesy mac dotted with pieces of spicy kimchi and salty bacon. Oh, goodness. my mouth is watering just imagining those first delicious bites! And the panko crust? Such a lovely contrast to the texture of the rest of the dish.
If you're looking for a side dish this holiday season and/or a last minute gift idea, definitely order Lauren's cookbook and make this (or any) of her beautiful recipes! She really hit it out of the park. Which is no surprise at all if you are a follower of her blog!
bacon & kimchi mac & cheese from modern comfort cooking
- 5 slices bacon
- 1/2 lb elbow macaroni
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1 3/4 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese (I used Tillamook's sharp cheddar)
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2/3 cup chopped kimchi
- 3/4 cup panko
- 1 tsp cayenne
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the bacon slices on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Allow the bacon to cool, then chop and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni and cook according to the package directions.
- In a large pot, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat. Add the flour, whisking constantly, to make a roux. Slowly add the milk to the flour in the pot, continuing to whisk, until the sauce thickens. Add the cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Add the salt and pepper, followed by the bacon and kimchi. Fold the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce. Pour everything into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- In a small bowl, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the microwave. Stir the panko and cayenne into the melted butter and sprinkle over the mac and cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are golden brown.