Buttermilk-Blue Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is one of those staple dishes that everyone adores. By using buttermilk instead of whole milk and a mild, creamy blue cheese (see notes) instead of cheddar, we've given this classic dish a flavor makeover. The dish is light, creamy and tangy ~ try serving with broiled fish or chicken and roasted tomatoes.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- Pinch of dried thyme
- 8 ounces blue cheese (see notes)
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
- 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
- 2 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked and cut into 1/4-inch dice
Preheat the oven to 375°F and butter the inside of a 2-1/2 quart casserole.
Melt the butter in a 2 quart saucepan pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, a tablespoon at a time and mix well. Continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and golden in color.
Whisk in the buttermilk and bring to a slow simmer. Add the mustard, salt, white pepper and thyme and cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture is smooth and thickened, about 7 minutes. Add the blue cheese and continue cooking until completely melted and creamy. Stir in the cooked macaroni, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, then transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and bacon over the top. Dot with some additional butter if desired. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top turns golden brown and the crumbs are lightly toasted.
Makes 6 servings
About the cheese:
Try to choose a blue cheese that is on the mild side with a creamy texture. Good choices include Danish blue, Gorgonzola (Italy), or Saint Agur (France).