A delicious recipe for Five Cheese Baked Mac and Cheese.  A delicious recipe for Five Cheese Baked Mac and Cheese.  Five Cheese Baked Mac and Cheese recipe. A recipe for Five Cheese Baked Mac and Cheese.

Hey Guys! Today we have a Five Cheese Baked Mac & Cheese for you. What a great comfort dish, right? Who doesn’t love a great mac and cheese and who can’t eat this year round? After yesterday’s food/booze fest (some call the Super Bowl) my liver’s a little mad at me and that’s okay, because I kind of feel like this mac and cheese can fix anything…you know, food that can just do that? Bombed a huge meeting? Go eat some mac and cheese…..Failed a test or final?…..go make and eat this dish…….car problems?….mac and cheese will make it go away. Okay fine, so maybe mac and cheese won’t create world peace and solve all the problems in the world, but man a big bowl of this stuff will make you very happy…for a short period at least. :)

Just a couple things about this big guy, tossing the lemon juice with the cheese isn’t totally necessary, but it’s something I like to do anytime I’m making a cheese sauce. The lemon juice will help eliminate any major stringiness in the overall sauce, and I do hate me a stringy cheese sauce. Also, it’s really important not to let this cheese sauce simmer for to long and thicken. Seriously, once your cheese has melted and your sauce is smooth, take it off the heat and pour it over your pasta. Since it’s going into the oven, your sauce will continue to thicken and you still want the cheese slightly gooey when you dig in….no one likes a tough block of mac and cheese, especially me. Finally, I wish I could say you can sub out the homemade crouton topping for breadcrumbs (and technically you can), but I won’t. This topping seriously makes this dish! The small pockets of crispy, buttery sourdough mixed with the soft, cheesy, “bacony” mac and cheese creates this lovely combination of balance and perfection!

Everyone should go home, make a big batch of this and share it with loved ones….really, it’s delicious, easy and everyone will love you for it! Enjoy! xx, Jenny

Five Cheese Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:
1 lb dry gemelli pasta (can substitute elbow macaroni)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon, minced garlic
3 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 ounces white extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 ounces Gruyere, shredded
3 ounces Havarti, shredded
3 ounces Manchego, shredded
1.5 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated
12 ounces cooked bacon, crumbled
2 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced
topping:
3 slices sourdough bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup (1/2stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. For topping: Toss all ingredients together in a mixing bowl until all cubes are coated in butter. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.
2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
3. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil add a generous amount of salt (2½ – 3 tablespoons) and then the pasta.
4. Boil pasta for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
5. Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle flour over butter mixture and whisk together. Allow mixture to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Whisk milk into flour mixture and continue to whisk until fully incorporated and no lumps remain. Allow mixture to simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 3 to 4 minutes.
7. Place all shredded and grated cheeses into a mixing bowl and toss together with lemon juice.
8. Stir cheese into the béchamel sauce and stir until cheese just melts and creates a smooth sauce.. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Fold cheese sauce into pasta until just combined. Fold in bacon and chives until completely mixed.
10. Pour macaroni into a buttered 8”x8” baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle the top with the buttered cubes of sourdough and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
11. Remove from oven and allow macaroni and cheese to cool for about 7 minutes before serving.

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