The weekend before Thanksgiving, my friends and I gather outside New York City with our partners and families for a weekend-long Friendsgiving. I look forward to this weekend each fall and feel so grateful for this time together with so many people I love.
Because my biscuit recipe was such a hit last year, I wanted to share another recipe that is highly requested by my friends. Make this for Thanksgiving or really all year-round.
It's a rich creamy recipe with a delicious crispy top that everyone can enjoy! If you make it, let me know what you think and tag @palermobody if you take delicious photos. Buon appetito!
Recipe Serves 6-8
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound large elbow pasta
- 4 cups milk
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar (+ 1c more for top)
- 1 cup shredded Fontina
- 1 shredded Gruyère
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped scallions
- 6 slices crispy bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Olive oil for drizzling
- The Pasta—Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until al dente. You want it to be underdone, it'll finish in the oven. Drain, and rinse with cold water to stop cooking and set aside. Tip: drizzle with a touch of olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a small bowl add Panko breakcrumbs, 1/2 Tbs fresh thyme leaves, and drizzle with 1 Tbs of olive oil. Toss until fully incorporated and set aside. Tip: this helps to crisp the crumbs when baking later.
- The Cheese Sauce—In a small saucepan, heat the milk with the thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, and garlic cloves. In a large deep skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour to make a roux, cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep from burning. Strain the herb infused milk into the pot with the roux. Whisk together making sure all of the solids are incorporated. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is nice and smooth 4-5 min—it should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the cheese one cup at a time (reserving 1 cup of cheddar for the top) and continue to stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta and fold together until all pasta is coated with the cheese sauce. Add in scallions and bacon, stir.
Bake—Butter a cast iron or 3-quart baking dish to prevent sticking and scrape in pasta. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese and top with Panko. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.