I have a love/hate relationship with blue cheese. It’s stinky, yet flavorful and bold. I love it on salad with dried cranberries and walnuts, on a cheese board with pears, or with buffalo chicken mac!
The other day I found myself with a container of crumbled blue cheese and began to scour the web for blue cheese recipes. I mostly found salads and dips, and then I saw a mac and cheese with blue cheese and bacon recipe from Food & Wine. Mac and cheese and bacon!?! They had me at bacon. I read the recipe and noticed the only cheese used for the mac was blue cheese. As much as I like blue cheese, I was worried about it being overpowering. So, I decided to add a little fontina to soften the blue cheese.
I’m so glad I did! The fontina and blue cheese balance was perfect, and of course the addition of bacon was great. What I really loved about this recipe was the ease of putting the béchamel together, and the creamy texture. I dotted the top of the mac with blue cheese which provided a little burst of blue with every other bite. I made a small pan that could have easily served four, but it only served two!
Mac and cheese with blue cheese and bacon
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter plus more for greasing
- 4 ounces bacon chopped
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 ounces about ½ cup, fontina cheese shredded
- 2 ounces about ½ cup, blue cheese crumbled, plus more for garnish
- black pepper
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni or other tubular pasta
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a shallow 1 1/2-quart gratin dish.
Heat the 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over moderate heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp and browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate. Set aside.
Add the onion to the skillet and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the milk and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add ¼ cup of the blue and fontina cheese and stir until smooth and melted. Season with salt and pepper, and keep the sauce warm over very low heat. At this point, feel free to add a little more cheese to your taste.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan of boiling well-salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well and add the pasta to the cheese sauce, stirring well to coat. Stir in the reserved bacon.
Pour the mac and cheese into the gratin dish, then top with the remaining blue and fontina cheese.
Bake until golden and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with snipped or finely chopped chives before serving, if desired.