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.
And some garlic.
Four cups of milk.
Pour the milk into a large saucepan.
Add the thyme and garlic.
While the milk is extracting the flavours from the thyme and garlic, butter the baking dish.
After simmering and infusing the milk, strain it.
Now, the cheese sauce.
Grate a lot of cheese.
Measure the flour.
Measure the butter too.
Now melt the butter in a large saucepan.
The flour is added and whisked, so there are no lumps.
All four cups of milk are added, a cup at a time.
The cheese is added.
After some stirring and melting, there is a 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.
Drain the pasta. Do not follow the recipe below… leave the olive oil in the bottle.
Add the cheese sauce to the drained pasta.
Combine the pasta and cheese sauce.
Pour the pasta and cheese sauce into the prepared baking dish. Top with the reserved cheddar and bake it for 30 minutes.
Now would be a good time to do some clean up.
Clean up done.
Time to make the bacon-onion topping.
Gather the ingredients.
Chop, then cook the bacon.
Cook the onion, 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’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.
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
6 slices thick-cut double smoked bacon, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
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.