Emeril’s Three-Cheese Baked Macaroni

(From Every Day Food, October 2010 Issue)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

Coarse salt
1/2 lb. elbow macaroni
3-4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
3 large eggs
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 C grated sharp cheddar
1/2 C grated Monterey Jack
1/2 C grated Parmesan

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475°F. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni for 6 minutes (it will finish cooking while in the oven). Drain. In a small skillet, cook bacon until fat is rendered & bacon is crisp, 10-15 minutes.* Add garlic, and cook about 30 seconds (just until you begin to smell it). With a slotted spoon, add the bacon mixture to the macaroni, either still in the large pot, or in a medium mixing bowl. Toss to combine.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs & evaporated milk. Add 1/2 tsp. of salt, cayenne, nutmeg & cheeses, mix well**. Add the macaroni mixture & stir well to combine. Transfer to an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish, spreading the mixture out evenly. Bake just until the sauce is bubbling at the edges, about 12 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

*The time depends on the thickness of the bacon you’re using, as well as how many slices. I used 4 slices of thick-cut smoked applewood bacon, and it took a good 15 minutes before the bacon crisped up.

**Quite frankly, the next time I make this, I probably would increase the cayenne to 1/2 a tsp. or maybe add in at least 1/4 tsp. of black pepper. Maybe even some chili powder or ground mustard. I found the sauce a little on the bland side. I’d probably also go with extra-sharp cheddar. In Emeril’s defense, this is one of his Cooking with Kids recipes, so maybe that’s why it’s on the blander side…Even still, I think most kids could handle a little more of a kick.

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