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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Friend Laura - The Star!

Vote for Laura's DIVINE recipe by going to:


Laura Macek, owner of Charlotte's

Visit the shop's website: www.sewingartsstudio.com

The five finalists for Emeril's Best Mac 'n' Cheese Ever Contest were announced recently. From thousands of entries to ABC's Good Morning America, my friend Laura is in the top FIVE! I am so excited for her. The winner will be announced Feb. 29 and will appear on Emeril's show. BAM!

The weather folks are predicting sleet and/or snow for tomorrow here. I think it will be the perfect day to make Laura's mac 'n' cheese. I've typed her recipe below. Don't forget to click on the link at the top of this post to vote for her. She is super nice and super talented. Now I need to find out how she keeps her girlish figure while making dishes like this!

Best Mac 'n' Cheese Ever from Laura Macek

1 head of garlic, roasted
1 tsp. olive oil
1 pound Cavatappi pasta
1/2 pound sliced Applewood smoked bacon
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
8 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup flour
1 quart whole milk
6 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
8 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

To roast garlic: Preheat oven to 350. Slice 1/2 inch off the top of the entire head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap garlic head tightly in a square of heavy foil and roast until tender - about 45 minutes. Remove garlic pulp by squeezing garlic head. Smash cloves with a fork to form a paste.

Cook pasta according to package directions.Cook bacon completely. Drain on paper towels. Reserve 1 T. bacon fat. Crumble bacon when cool. To make topping: Combine bread crumbs, crumbled bacon, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and 2 T. of melted butter. Set aside. Saute' shallots over low heat in reserved bacon fat for one minute. Add remaining 6 T. of butter and continue to saute' shallots in butter and bacon fat until translucent. Add flour and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Stirring constantly with a whisk, add milk and roasted garlic paste. Cook until sauce is thickened. (It will coat the back of a spoon.) Remove sauce from heat then add salt, pepper, nutmeg, Gruyere and Cheddar cheese. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in cooked pasta. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle topping to cover entire top. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes at 375. Remove foil and continue baking until sauce is bubbly and topping is browned. Enjoy!

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