My husband works in the big city. He commutes on the train in, takes a subway to a LA skyscraper, works long hours and then goes back to his train to come home. During certain times of the year he works such long hours that he receives a budget for a food allowance. There is pretty amazing food in the city. Sometimes I’m lucky enough that he brings home half of the meal. S’mac n Cheese from the Nickel Diner is one meal I beg for him to bring home. It’s the best mac n cheese you’ll ever taste.
This is not no little kid mac n cheese. This is the big daddy of all mac n cheese. It has 4 cheeses, roasted garlic and tomatoes, a crunchy buttery top and my addition- bacon. Because bacon just seemed right.
The secret in with all Mac n cheese is to have strong cheeses. That doesn’t mean you entree will actually taste strong! Quite the opposite. You are making a bechamel sauce with pretty bland ingredients and pouring that sauce over pretty bland noodles- so obviously you need those strong cheeses to balance everything out. Add a few other punches of flavors – like the roasted garlic, herbs and a few roasted tomatoes and you have a beautiful dish.
FIRST you will want to start your garlic and tomatoes roasting. Take one garlic head, slice off the top- so the tops of the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in foil and bake at 400 for 15 mintes.
For the tomatoes you’ll cut in half, and place skin side up, and drizzle with olive oil too. Roast right along side with the garlic.
Once your veggies are roasted, and your cheese is shredded. Noodles boiled. Make a simple bechamel sauce, add garlic and remaining ingredients. And Bake! This is a beautiful casserole dish by Fiesta Dinnerware. We are huge fans. We have so many of their dishs and they are in so many of our posts to prove it! My favorite, besides their colors, is that the don’t chip! (and if they do they have a guaranty against it) I get so frustrated buying expensive dishes and bake ware and having it chip easily, and only after having it a short time. I have Love love LOVED this beautiful casserole dish.
This color and dish is one of their most popular and Fiesta Ware is so awesome that they are going to give one away to a lucky reader!! Just click on the entry form to enter!! And go make some S’mac n Cheese stat.
- 1 lb elbow noodles
- 2-4 roma tomatoes
- 1 small garlic head
- Olive oil
- 2 T butter
- 2 T flour
- 2.5 cups milk
- 1 cup fontina (or Gruyere, or provolone) cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup pepper jack cheese
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- itialian seasoning bread crumbs
- 6 basil leaves- chopped
- 5 bacon strips, cooked
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 400. Cut head off garlic, leaving tops of cloves exposed. Drizzle with oilive oil and wrap in foil.
- Cut tomatoes in half, place skin side down on foil lined pan. Drizzle tops with olive oil.
- Roast garlic and tomatoes for 15 minutes or till tops are turning black.
- If desired, after roasting, take skin off. I leave it on and gently dice tomatoes.
- Garlic should squeeze out of cloves easily and turn to paste when done. if it doesn't allow to cook longer.
- Boil noodles till al dente
- In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir together. Let bubble for about 1 minute. Stir in half the basil, half the bacon, 1 tsp salt and the garlic.
- Slowly add milk. Continue stirring and let sauce thicken, but do not let boil. This will scald the milk. When milk is hot, add all cheese except 1 cup sharp cheddar and tomatoes.
- Pour sauce over noodles and stir to combine.
- Top with remaining cheddar, bacon, basil, and sprinkle bread crumbs over- to your desired thickness.
- Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Till cheese is melted and its warmed through.