There’s a story behind the title for this dish involving many years, a highly respected officer at AT&T, my two rugrats, and a philosophy I try to maintain but definitely abandon when consuming apéritifs. Check out Genuinely Speaking for more on that.
In the meantime, meet heaven in a casserole dish.
December is nuts for everyone with the shopping and the wrapping and the parties and commitments, making homemade meals a distant memory while invoking a desire to punch the likes of Martha Stewart right in the face. But if a glorious 45 minutes presents itself between now and December 25th, I highly recommend making this Fucking Ridiculous Mac-n-Cheese.
Yes, that’s its real name. I reserve the F-bomb for the most drastic, incredible, ignorant, unbelievable occurrences in life, like when I face plant trying to wear wedge sandals when walking my kids into the pediatrician’s office, or for culinary masterpieces such as this. But I figured google searches would oppose, and all the sponsors knocking down my doors may not appreciate my sense of humor surrounding their beloved products, so for the record I’m dialing it back and calling this Effing Ridiculous Mac-n-Cheese.
Can you fry some bacon? Chop an onion? Boil water? Shred cheese? Open a container or two? Then you can make this dish. I tried all sorts of homemade Mac-n-Cheese concoctions over the years, and came up with a couple of conclusions:
1. A cheese sauce made with a roux is nice on the day you eat it, but gloppy and clumpy for leftovers. Total disappointment on day two.
2. One cheese is never good enough. Nor is two, three or four. You need six cheeses to achieve the proper complexity, texture, and gorgeous stringy cheese pull.
3. Traditional gluten-y pasta is not necessary, and fusilli trumps elbow noodles every. single. time.
4. While a breadcrumb lid may be nice, nothing ever beats bacon, which makes all things better.
You ready? Here we go.
Fry some bacon to a crisp, just before burnt. Slap hands that come around checking to ensure it’s not poisonous, or fry three extra pieces for the swipers. And start a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
In the bacon grease (don’t drain it!), add a chopped onion and jalapeño. Cook them down about 5 minutes, then add some diced garlic.
Meanwhile, imprint this scene into your head…
…it’s the dreaded annual FAFSA exercise. Be grateful your husband takes care of this nonsense. And if he doesn’t, then I suggest you pour yourself a giant apéritif and tackle it with your second born over an adult beverage.
While the boys tough out financial assistance hell, shred and measure out some cheese.
And boil those noodles. Organic Quinoa Fusilli is all the rage, man! It’s lighter than traditional pasta because it’s gluten free, so you don’t feel as though ten pounds of sludge landed in your gut after imbibing in this totally unhealthy but ridiculously delicious dish.
Shortcut time – crack open a jar of my favorite convenient pasta sauce. Rao’s is the bomb.
In a large bowl, dump 1/2 cup of chopped chives.
Sometimes I use basil, and once I used a combo of the two. The point is to get something green in here, and if it’s herby it packs a little flavor punch to the mix. Add the cheese, and continue the dumping party.
Dump in a cup of sauce. Dump in the hot pasta. Butter a casserole dish (please. You’re worried about a little butter? Just wait until the next step).
Breathe deeply, and dump in an entire pint of heavy cream, then stir to combine. It’s effing ridiculous, I know. But soooo worth the indulgence. Resist the temptation to grab your biggest ladle and dig in, even though you could. Channel your inner strength and dump the contents into that buttered casserole dish and top it with with the bacon which your kid chopped a few minutes ago, surely taking nibbles while you whacked his knuckles with a wooden spoon.
Pop it in a 500 degree oven for a mere 7-10 minutes. The result, my dear friends?
Glorious, gooey-chewy goodness with a crunchy topping and velvety smooth cheesey perfection all making out in a 9 by 13 by 2 inch spot on this good earth.
It’s so good, that my own mother didn’t even admonish me or bat an eyelid when I told her what it’s called. Instead, she replied with, “Can I please have the recipe to this Fucking Ridiculous Mac-n-Cheese? I’m making it this Saturday.”
And since we’re going balls to the wall here, make it with my Crock Pot Ribs. You’ll forever sear yourself as a culinary wizard in the hearts and souls of your family.
- 8 pieces bacon
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces of gluten free fusilli - (I prefer organic quinoa fusilli)
- ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, coarsely grated
- ½ cup Fontina cheese, coarsely grated
- ½ cup mild or medium cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
- ¼ Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- ⅓ cup chopped chives
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup quality marinara or vodka sauce (Rao's is my favorite)
- Butter (for the baking dish)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon. Consider cutting the strips in half - it helps with even cooking.
- While the bacon cooks, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the pasta and 2T salt, stir, and cook until the pasta is very al dente (about 3-4 minutes LESS THAN what the package directions indicate).
- Remove the bacon from the pan to a paper towel to cool. Once cooled, chop it and set aside.
- If your bacon produced a lot of fat, pour some off but reserve 2T of the grease. Sauté the onion in the bacon fat over medium - low heat for 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and jalapeño to the onion and cook for another minute.
- Remove the onion, garlic, jalapeño mixture to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the bacon to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Pour the pasta into a buttered 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle the bacon on top.
- Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until the Mac-n-Cheese is hot, the cheese is completely melted, and the edges are bubbling.
- MAKE AHEAD INSTRUCTIONS: Complete all the instructions and refrigerate the dish, covered. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and let the casserole rest on the counter while the oven heats up. Pop it into the oven, covered, for about 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are bubbling and the center is hot. Then turn the broiler on for about 5 minutes, or until the bacon is sizzling and the casserole is hot throughout.