Aggie's Kitchen

Barefoot Bloggers – Ina’s Grown Up Mac and Cheese

I am a little late with this Barefoot Blogger recipe, but better late than never right? One of the recipes selected this month was Barefoot Contessa’s Grown Up Mac and Cheese. The recipe was selected by Heather from Randomosity and the Girl and it was a good one. The original recipe looks and sounds absolutely heavenly, but this week wasn’t slotted for this type of indulgence so of course I had to do my best to lighten it up. It was hard to lighten up the cheeses but I did my best with the other stuff.

I took an idea from Prudy and added some caramelized onions to the pasta for some added flavor. I’m a sucker for caramelized onions in anything. I wanted to take it a step further and add some other veggies to it but I didn’t want to get too carried away as I was already worried the kids wouldn’t eat it as it is. I had some leftover shredded chicken in the fridge so I did add that to make it more of a complete meal with some protein. Overall I really liked how it turned out! I will definitely make this again, I loved the blend of the three cheeses in the sauce and the basil in the crumb topping. My daughter gobbled the whole thing up…my son on the other hand, well it just wasn’t his night (he’s the picky one in the group).

Grown Up Mac and Cheese
adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe

4 slices turkey bacon
1 Vidalia or sweet onion, sliced or chopped
olive oil
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat elbow pasta
1 1/2 cups skim/non fat milk
1 TB unsalted butter
2 TB all purpose flour
3/4 cup grated swiss cheese
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
2 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
pinch nutmeg (freshly ground is best!)
1 – 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
Whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
2 TB freshly chopped basil leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Crisp turkey bacon in non stick skillet, transfer to paper towel, once cooled, crumble. Set aside. (Or…here’s a tip I learned from my sister in law: Chop bacon first, then crisp in pan…once finished transfer to paper towel and you have your crumbled bacon!)

In same skillet, use bacon drippings (add olive oil if needed) to saute sweet onions. Cook until soft and caramelized.

In the meantime, bring pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to directions.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for about 1 minute, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat add the Swiss, Cheddar, Gorgonzola, 1 tsp salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni, bacon, shredded chicken and onions and stir well. Pour into individual gratin dishes or larger casserole dish.

In a small bowl mix Panko crumbs with basil. Sprinkle mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and macaroni is browned on top.

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12 comments on “Barefoot Bloggers – Ina’s Grown Up Mac and Cheese”

  1. Ooh, you lucky woman. I can never find whole wheat panko. Your mac and cheese looks d-lish, especially with that chicken added.

  2. Looks delicious!

  3. I just love mac and cheese. Hardly ever eat the good homemade kind so i am just drooling.

  4. Yum- it looks fabulous. Aren’t you glad you made this? I loved it and so did my family.

  5. Ahhhh, this mac and cheese is just perfect. I had a terrific one in Ny that I am going to try and re-create. For now, I’d like a big dish of yours! Love caramelized onions on mac too.

  6. This looks wonderful. I love that you lightened it up. I just picked up two of Ina’s cookbooks – I can’t wait to try some recipes.

  7. Great take on mac & cheese! I love the adult touch, and who can say no to 3 cheeses anyway 🙂

    Thanks for visiting me, so I could discover your lovely blog in turn.

  8. The chicken makes it a complete meal, what a great idea. This looks so delicious. The carmelized onions put it over the top!

  9. Gorgonzola? Oh, I’m so there. My oldest girl is a mac and cheese lover; she’d be happy to eat it every day of the week! This looks so good, I might want to eat it every day, too!

  10. Hi Aggie! How was your weekend full of football?? 😉 Yes, finally done with the final and my brain is now mush! I have had my eye on this recipe for a while now and I think I may have to break down and give it a try. The winning factor is the bacon in it!! I wonder how pancetta or prosciutto might be in it?? Hope you are doing good!

  11. Great mac and cheese!! A very comforting dish!

    There are Aggies in Utah, but that is Utah State, we cheer for the U of U, the Utes:)

  12. Caramelized onions and gorgonzola? wow-decadent!! I must try this!
    Ina sure does know her comfort foods down to a science.