This is quite possibly the most caloric thing I’ve ever eaten or cooked. It very well may be the richest mac and cheese out there. I won’t apologize! I see nothing wrong in indulging every once and a while. Creamy, savory, tangy and sweet, this mac and cheese combines some of my favorite ingredients in one single bite. Figs, goat cheese and bacon are a match made in heaven. I’m relishing every fig until the leaves start turning yellow, indicating to me the summer is over and I have to wait an entire year until I can enjoy their floral, sweet decadence again. We recently gathered at Guermillo and Liz’s for grilling, fig picking and wine drinking. It was at least the third time we trekked over there to pick figs, but this time I wanted to stay, eat, drink and converse like old times (i.e before baby). We had a huge feast of goat cheese and herb turkey burgers, grilled eggplant from their garden, this mac and cheese and a divine fig tart for dessert that our friend Sandy made. It is funny that goat cheese and figs were the stars of most of the dishes, yet each one had its own unique flavor to offer. It was a totally seasonal and home-grown meal with Guermillo’s famous wine to wash it all down. Lucky us, we got to go home with the majority of the leftovers. Scroll down for the mac and cheese recipe. If you’re doing any socializing for Labor Day weekend, give this a try. It feeds a ton and who would deny a homemade macaroni and cheese?
Fig and Three Cheese Macaroni
*Measurements are approximate. Use your judgement!
4 cups macaroni
1/2 lb bacon (I used turkey for this dish), cut into lardons with some of the fat reserved to cook the shallot in
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 and 1/2 cup whole milk
1 egg, whisked
1 block cheddar cheese (the sharpest you can find), shredded
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 cup goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
A few drizzlings of balsamic vinegar (optional)
15-20 figs, sliced
Handful of basil, thinly sliced
- Fry bacon on medium-high heat in a medium sized skillet until slightly crisp, remove and set aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium, add a bit of olive oil to the pan and cook the shallot until caramelized. Combine with bacon and set aside.
- Under cook the macaroni until tender but still a bit firm as it will cook more in the oven.
- Now make the sauce. Melt butter on medium heat. Whisk in flour until incorporated and lightly golden. Slowly pour in milk and turn the heat up a bit.
- In a small bowl combine the whisked egg with a spoonful of the hot sauce to temper the egg. Whisk quickly to combine and then slowly drizzle it into the sauce.
- Fold in the cheddar cheese and stir to incorporate until cheddar is melted. Next add the goat cheese (reserve a small amount for garnish), mascarpone and a generous amount of black pepper and nutmeg.
- Combine the cheese sauce with the macaroni, then fold in the bacon, shallots, balsamic and almost all the basil and figs, reserving some to lay out on the top as garnish.
- Pour into a casserole dish and decorate the top with basil and figs for the prettiest mac and cheese you will ever eat!
- Bake on 300 for 20-30 minutes until it’s firmed up a bit. If the sauce dries out add a few splashes of whole milk after removing the hot mac and cheese from the oven. Your kitchen will smell divine and neighbors may be knocking on your door. Enjoy!
P.S This one will be one in less than two months and I just can’t handle her hilariousness and sense of adventure lately. Why does it have to go by so quickly? This was taken earlier this summer at Liz and Guermillo’s at our first fig harvest of the season. Chris was doing all the work and we were doing all the eating/watching. Hope everyone had a great summer!