Leftover Cheese Plate Mac ‘n Cheese

Posted On July 19th, 2012 Author Lia Rinaldo

Leftover Cheese Plate Mac 'n Cheese
Makes enough for a small Italian hungover army.

For the Sauce (adapted from the Betty Crocker classic)

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup shredded leftover cheese- you can use anything I swear, though I always try to make sure that there is an aged smoky cheddar or gouda, along with a few melted soft cheeses (rinds cut off) or even a boursin giving it a cream cheesey hit
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder

The Rest

2 onions
1 pound of lean ground beef
8 strips of Montréal Smoked Bacon, chopped - I like the version that Pete's Frootique does, all bacon is basically created equal.
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
500g of pasta- my fave for this is the Divella Gnocchi from the Italian Market, but you just need a pasta that can grab the sauce, like the spirals I used in the photos here.
salt & pepper to taste

1. Make cheese sauce. Heat butter in a good-sized saucepan over medium heat until melted. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, dry mustard and chipotle powder . Cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a whisk, until mixture is smooth and bubbling. Slowly add the milk. Heat to boiling, keep stirring, about a minute or so. Stir in cheese until melted and set aside.

2. Caramelize onions. In a cast iron skillet on med-high, melt remaining butter and add in a tablespoon of canola oil. Once hot, throw in the onions and fry, browning and stirring them for a couple of minutes. Then turn the heat to low and let them sweat it out and reduce for half an hour or more. Remove the onions out of the pan and set aside.

3. Cook the meat. In the same skillet, keep heat at med-high and add in the bacon. Cook until crispy. Strain the bacon and spread it out on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb some of the grease. Set aside. Add in hamburger and cook until browned through (there will still be some grease in the pan from the bacon and that's a good thing).

4. Boil pasta in a large pot over high heat. Drain and then put the pasta back in the same pot.

5. Assembly required. Add the cheese sauce to the pasta and mix well to coat. Then add meat and onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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