Mac and Cheese with Bourbon Crust
Here’s a warm, home-style dish, spiked with bourbon-infused bread crumbs for an added crunchy kick. What’s not to love? If you’re making this ahead of time, don’t mix the macaroni into the cheese sauce until you’re almost ready to serve, to prevent it from becoming soggy.
2 cups dry elbow macaroni
2 ¼ cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon mustard powder
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
Generous pinch of salt
For the topping
1 ¼ cups ciabatta bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
3 tablespoons Jim Beam® Bourbon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook following the package directions. Drain the macaroni, rinse it thoroughly, then set aside in the colander to drain further.
Preheat the broiler and an ovenproof dish measuring approximately 8 x 12 inches on the highest setting.
Warm the milk until warm (not hot) in a small saucepan set over low heat, ensuring it does not boil.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat. When it is frothy, add the flour and mustard powder, mix well, and cook for 1 minute. Add the warm milk, whisking continuously, and continue to whisk while the mixture cooks for another 3 to 5 minutes, until it thickens slightly. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and whisk in the cheese until the sauce is smooth. Season with the salt.
Add the drained macaroni to the cheese sauce and increase the heat a little. Stir thoroughly to combine and warm through, but do not let it come to a boil.
Meanwhile, stir the topping ingredients together thoroughly to combine.
Transfer the pasta and cheese sauce into the warmed ovenproof dish and spread the topping evenly over the surface. Broil for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the topping is golden and crunchy. Serve immediately.