With all this talk, of course he had me wanting to work a new variation of it into dinner soon (probably his intention from the beginning!) With an opened package of bacon in the refrigerator, which is nothing unusual around here, this Three-Cheese Baked Macaroni looked fun to try.
While waiting on the well-salted water to come up to a rapid bubble, chopped bacon went into a small (cast-iron for us!) skillet to crisp and render out is most of its usable fat. Just before you would pull it from the heat, a few cloves of minced garlic hit the pan until its pungent aroma strikes your nose with a gentle slap. With the bits scooped out to drain on a paper towel-lined plate, this is where this dish gets interesting.
Instead of a classic cheese sauce, this recipe calls for a rich combination of evaporated milk, three eggs and a mess of cheeses - sharp cheddar, smooth Monterey Jack and salty Parmesan. You may have used eggs in macaroni and cheese, but as far as I can recall, they have never worked their way into any recipes we've tried over the years. A hint of cayenne and fresh grated nutmeg join in for added interest and a mild bite.
My eyes couldn't help but dart back to that lonely slick of bacon drippings left behind in the skillet, so forgive me as I had to whisk a spoonful or two into the egg-y base. With that done, the cooked macaroni and bacon hop into the mix and the whole shebang is poured into one of our square pans to bake through.
There is definitely a different texture than what we're used to - quite dense, custard-y and not nearly as "gooey". This does make pulling out clean squares easy enough though (especially with a short rest)! While the top does get a bit of a crust as it bakes, I did find myself thinking a crunchy breadcrumb topping would have been a good addition to throw on too. While I don't think this will become one of our go-to recipes when we have a cheesy pasta craving, we did find it a suitable comforting dish that we'd make again.
Three-Cheese Baked Macaroni