Thursday, 22 September 2011

Macaroni Cheese & Bacon

Recently, I discovered we have the Food Network channel on our television. I have absolutely no idea why I've not realised this before. The American shows are a lot different to our British ones, and I find they take a bit of getting use to. 

I was watching one called Barefoot Contessa and Ina, the host/chef, made a massive "mac 'n' cheese".  I don't quite understand why she called it "mac" (as in macaroni) because she used a different pasta. But, she did use a huge amount of cheese. She managed to fill a food processor (guessing 1.5 - 2 litres) with grated cheese. Not that that's a bad thing. I love cheese.  

So, I endeavoured to make my own. Loosely based on Barefoot Contessa's. I don't know what her measurements where, so I've used my own. And I've added bacon.

Does anyone know why the show's called Barefoot Contessa? I thought that 'Barefoot' may relate to a feeling of being natural and 'Contessa' may be her name. But, her name's Ina. I also think 'Contessa' is the female form of 'Count'.

Macaroni Cheese & Bacon

Serves 4-6

4 rashers of bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
400g macaroni cheese, cooked and drained
75g unsalted butter
6tbsp plain flour
750ml milk
1/2tsp ground nutmeg
250g Gouda, grated
50g Cheddar, grated
2 beef tomatoes, sliced
Few handfuls of dried breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven Gas 6 (200°C/400°F)
In a pan, bring the milk up to a gentle simmer. Turn off the heat. In another large pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Allow to gently cook for 2 minutes, stirring to keep it burning to the bottom. (This is called a roux). Gradually, add the milk to the roux, stirring continuously so there are no lumps. (This is called a b├ęchamel). Once all the milk has been integrated, turn off the heat and add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. 
Add the cheese, bacon and pasta. Mix well and pour into a large baking dish. Arrange the tomato slices on top and cover with the breadcrumbs. 
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden-brown.


  1. Hi Gary!
    I'm from the US and watch the Food Network quite often (ok, probably every day).
    Barefoot Contessa was the name of the specialty food shop Ina ran back in the 70's I believe.
    Also, the Barefoot Contessa was a movie from 1954...I'm not sure if that has any ties to the name of the store...

  2. Yeah, I saw that about the shop on their website. Could be any number of reasons behind the name, I suppose.

  3. This looks like just my sort of thing - I'm a sucker for anything cheesy!
    I really can't stand that programme. I try to like her but something about her gets on my nerves :/

  4. Cheese is always good.

    I know what you mean, I can watch it passively but to actually concentrate and listen to her can get annoying.