Macaroni and cheese is a genius food. In college, we all lived off of Kraft Mac N Cheese. Then we became more sophisticated and discovered the joys of Velveeta Shells and Cheese (my, we’re upper crust now)! During the hurricane Velveeta Shells and Cheese were a lifesaver, and I love mixing them with peas, tuna, or broccoli. Matt likes his with bacon. My very first homemade mac n cheese recipe (since I grew up in an Asian household where sometimes random things found their way into spaghetti, I’m glad it waited this long) came from my former college job boss (and current good friend) Joni. We stayed up all night making a pumpkin shaped cake for a work party, and for dinner she shared with me her family mac n cheese recipe, a sweet take on the classic dish that still remains one of my favorite variations. It involves layering cooked macaroni with grated cheese, then beating an egg with sweetened condensed milk and pouring it over all, then baking until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Delicious, unexpected, and a wonderful counterpart to usually salty side dishes.

The Food Critic/the hunny is inherently suspicious of recipes he considers not “normal” versions of classic dishes (for instance, he considers my slow braised beef brisket not “brisket,” because it’s not smoked in the classic BBQ way, although I like to point out that brisket, as a cut of meat, is brisket no matter how you cook it). Thus, as much as I love the sweet mac n cheese, FC has a hard time getting his head around it. I have tried many renditions of “classic” baked mac n cheese over the years, with cream sauces, bread toppings, and so forth. This one is particularly rich and luxurious. You will not want to eat too much of it as your tummy may hurt after, but small portions are quite eye popping.

Bonus: Multi-tabbed Gourmet in the background

Four Cheese Mac N Cheese

As we were checking out at Central Market, Food Critic eyed the cheeses going across the scanner and quipped, “This isn’t going to be Kraft, is it.” No, my dear FC. Not with your picky, picky palate.

Cook and crumble 6 bacon slices. Reserve. Cook 1 1/2 lb macaroni, drain, reserve. Heat 6 oz each Fontina, Bel Paese, and Gruyere with 3 T tomato sauce, 1/4 c cream, and 1/2 t each rosemary, sage, and oregano in a heavy pot until melted and smooth. Beat an egg yolk, gradually add some warm sauce to the yolk to prevent curdling, then whisk yolk into sauce in the pot.

Remove sauce from heat and add macaroni, bacon, and 2 oz grated Parmigiano. Add more cream if necessary (at this point I started to feel guilty so I used milk instead of cream) to thin the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Serve in tiny, tiny portions.