Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar Mac and Cheese

This is the macaroni and cheese that was made at the Ace Bakery seminar Road to Avonlea Cheese that I attended a few weeks ago. It was so good, I could hardly wait to try making it myself. It’s incredibly tasty… not just because of the Avonlea cheese that’s used but because of a couple of other additions.

For one thing, the milk used to make the cheese sauce is infused with thyme and garlic, which adds some other flavours to the mix. For another thing, the macaroni and cheese is topped with a mixture of bacon, onion, garlic and thyme before serving, which pushed the taste over the edge!

I think you should try this recipe. Even if you can’t find all the named ingredients (but it’s certainly worth trying), this is a very rich and super-tasty version of macaroni and cheese.

Here’s how it’s made.
Get some fresh thyme sprigs.

Thyme.

Thyme.

And some garlic.

Garlic.

Garlic.

Four cups of milk.

Milk.

Milk.

Pour the milk into a large saucepan.

Whatfoodimade action shot™ #1.

Whatfoodimade action shot™ #1.

Add the thyme and garlic.

Add the thyme and garlic.

Add the thyme and garlic.

While the milk is extracting the flavours from the thyme and garlic, butter the baking dish.

Prepared baking dish.

Prepared baking dish.

After simmering and infusing the milk, strain it.

Whatfoodimade action shot™ #2.

Whatfoodimade action shot™ #2.

Leftover solids.

Strained out thyme and garlic.

Strained out thyme and garlic.

Now, the cheese sauce.
Grate a lot of cheese.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar.

Measure the flour.

Get the flour measured.

Get the flour measured.

Measure the butter too.

Measure the butter.

Measure the butter.

Now melt the butter in a large saucepan.

Then melt the butter.

Then melt the butter.

The flour is added and whisked, so there are no lumps.

Making the roux.

Making the roux.

All four cups of milk are added, a cup at a time.

All the milk has been added.

All the milk has been added.

The cheese is added.

Whatfoodimade action shot™ #3.

Whatfoodimade action shot™ #3.

After some stirring and melting, there is a cheese sauce.

Cheese sauce.

Cheese sauce.

Cheese sauce made. Now cook the pasta.
Here’s a whatfoodimade tip™: Laying a wooden spoon or similar kitchen tool across the top of the pot stops the water from boiling over.

Boiling the pasta.

Boiling the pasta.

Drain the pasta. Do not follow the recipe below… leave the olive oil in the bottle.

Draining the pasta.

Draining the pasta.

Add the cheese sauce to the drained pasta.

Whatfoodimade action shot™ #4!

Whatfoodimade action shot™ #4!

Combine the pasta and cheese sauce.

Stir to mix.

Stir to mix.

Pour the pasta and cheese sauce into the prepared baking dish. Top with the reserved cheddar and bake it for 30 minutes.

Top with reserved cheddar.

Top with reserved cheddar.

Now would be a good time to do some clean up.

So many dishes.

So many dishes.

Clean up done.

Ready to go again.

Ready to go again.

Time to make the bacon-onion topping.
Gather the ingredients.

Garlic, onions and bacon.

Garlic, onions and bacon.

Chop, then cook the bacon.

Chopped, fried bacon

Chopped, fried bacon

Cook the onion, garlic and thyme.

Cooking the onions, garlic and thyme.

Cooking the onions, garlic and thyme.

Add the bacon into the fry pan to get re-warmed. Use that to top the
Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar Mac and Cheese.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar Mac and Cheese.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar Mac and Cheese.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Avonlea’s deliciously creamy, super cheesy Mac and Cheese is sure to become a family favourite. Its unique bacon and onion topping goes on after it bakes but you can keep it vegetarian if you wish.

Ingredients

1 lb. macaroni
4 cups whole milk
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup Cows Creamery Sea Salted Butter (or another good-quality salted butter)
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
20 oz. Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, shredded
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Topping

6 slices thick-cut double smoked bacon, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 9 x 13″ casserole.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook according to the package instructions less 2 minutes. The pasta will continue to cook as it bakes. Drain and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.

In a large saucepan, heat the milk with the thyme sprigs and the four cloves of smashed garlic. Simmer gently for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain the milk into a measuring cup, discarding the solids.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Pour the hot milk in one cup at a time, whisking well between each addition to make a smooth silky sauce.

Stir in 4 cups of the shredded cheddar, reserving about 1-1/2 cups for the top. Continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Add the cooked macaroni, pepper and parsley and fold to coat the pasta evenly with the cheese sauce.

Pour into the prepared baking dish smoothing out the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the pasta. Bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is hot and bubbling and the top is golden.

While the pasta bakes, heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon until crispy. Add the onion, garlic and thyme leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and the mixture is slightly golden, about 10 minutes.

When the mac and cheese comes out of the oven, scatter the bacon mixture evenly over the top and scoop out generous spoonfuls into bowls.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s