Five star makeover: Macaroni & Cheese - Savory & Sweet

When I saw the Five Star Foodie's challenge to make over Macaroni and Cheese, I knew this was the five star makeover for me. As you all know, I have a deep and abiding love of Mac and Cheese. I toyed with a bunch of different options, including an Indian Mac and Cheese with paneer and spices, and a pimped out Mac and Cheese with brie and cranberry chutney, but when I talked to my mom about it, I knew I was out of my depth. Her ideas were amazing. So, while she was in town last week, she and I made two different macaroni makeovers. We decided to go the savory and sweet route. The first makeover is a savory Macaroni and Cheese terrine with butternut squash and bacon. For the sweet portion, we made a dessert Macaroni and Mascarpone pudding with white chocolate and bourbon.(Credits: These recipes are my mom's and the photo credits go to some combination of me, my dad, and my sister. As we were all passing the camera around, it's hard to tell who took what.)
Both of these may sound like candidates for the Gallery of Regrettable Food, but I assure you, they were delicious. (I may even have made myself a little sick eating the leftovers the last few days.)

Savory: Layered Mac & Cheese Terrine Ingredients
  • 1 box macaroni noodles (I used Barilla Elbows)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • nutmeg to taste (ca. 1 t)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/2 lb aged Gruyere, shredded
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 10 oz. bacon, chopped
  1. Pre-heat oven to about 400.
  2. Place butternut squash cubes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Roast until tender, but don't burn.
  3. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a pan. Drain grease and set bacon aside.
  4. Cook pasta in generously salted water for approximately 3/4 of the suggested time. Drain and set aside.
  5. Shred aged Gruyere on the largest holes on a box grater. Set aside.
  6. Make a roux: Melt the stick of butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Add milk and cook over medium-low heat until sauce bubbles, thickens, and just begins to brown. Add nutmeg.
  7. Add cheese and stir until melted and smooth.
  8. Add pasta to cheese sauce and stir until well coated.
  9. Spread a layer of mac and cheese into a loaf pan that has been lined with aluminum foil (with edges sticking out the sides) and then liberally buttered. Tamp down quite firmly.
  10. Spread a layer of butternut squash cubes on top of the M&C. Press down, but do not mix with mac and cheese layer.
  11. Spread another layer of mac and cheese - make sure the squash is entirely covered. Press down.
  12. Create a layer of the bacon. Cover mac and cheese as completely as possible.
  13. Finally, spread a final thick layer of mac and cheese. Press down as firmly as possible.
  14. Bake for about 20 minutes or until top layer of mac and cheese begins to brown.
  15. Allow terrine to cool for about fifteen minutes and invert onto serving platter using foil to ease the form out of the pan. Carefully remove foil from mac and cheese terrine.
  16. Using a sawing motion and a very sharp knife, slice for serving.
**This recipe is almost certainly enough for two loaf pans. Also, a note on the aluminum foil technique - it helped, but maybe not enough to make it worth the effort. If your loaf pans are reliably non-stick, you may want to skip it. If there's any doubt about the pans being potentially sticky, do it.

Macaroni & Mascarpone Pudding with White Chocolate and Bourbon
For the Macaroni & Mascarpone
  • 1 lb small elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 2 T bourbon
  • 1 T vanilla
  • sugar to taste
  1. Prepare 1 pound of small elbow macaroni in well-salted water and cook until "almost" al dente--remember it will cook in the oven as the dessert bakes.
  2. Drain the mac very well.
  3. While the macaroni is cooking--combine 8 ounces of mascarpone cheese that has been mixed with and "lightened" with 1-2 tablespoons of bourbon (or to taste) and 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Add sugar to taste.
  4. Combine this cheese mixture with the hot macaroni and blend well. Set aside while preparing the custard mixture.
For the Custard:
  • 2 Cups of heavy cream
  • 2/3 Cup of milk
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 8 ounces of high quality (containing cocoa butter) white chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  1. Combine cream, milk,sugar and vanilla bean in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Add 1 Vanilla bean that has been split and the seeds scraped.
  2. When mixture is very warm (not boiling) add the white chocolate. Stir to allow the chocolate to melt.
  3. Meanwhile beat 2 eggs until well blended and light in color.
  4. Add a small amount (a ladle-full) of the hot cream/chocolate mixture to the beaten eggs to temper the mixture. Add another ladle-full of hot mixture slowly while beating vigorously. When the eggs are tempered and very warm, add to the remaining cream/chocolate mixture.
  5. Remove the vanilla bean.
  1. Place macaroni in oven safe baking dish that has been well buttered.
  2. Pour the custard mixure over the macaroni mixture and gently stir to combine.
  3. Place in a 325 degree oven and bake until set and lightly browned.
  4. Serve while warm with white chocolate cream sauce.
For the Sauce:
  • 3/4 Cup of heavy cream
  • 4 ounces of chopped white chocolate.
  1. Heat the cream and reduce if you desire a thicker sauce.
  2. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and stir to melt the chocolate.
  3. Spoon this warm sauce over the warm macaroni and ENJOY!


g. fox said...

le drool. you say you are already married? freaking shame...

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is outstanding! I love the savory terrine! And the sweet pudding with white chocolate and bourbon sounds absolutely heavenly! Thank you so much for participating!

Liz said...

Wow. I want to eat both of those. You and your genius mom are amazing. Did she concoct those recipes herself?

jess p. said...

whoa. hubba hubba, good lookin' squash-bacon-gruyere mac and cheese. i'm totally going to try this recipe!

Anonymous said...

what is tht garnish on the sweet custard?