By Richard Thomas
During my long stint in Portugal, I widened my cooking repertoire to fill all the things I craved and could not get locally. One of those items was macaroni and cheese, which I very quickly enhanced with extra items like onions, garlic, chives and/or bacon. Bringing up the bacon raised another possibility, because wherever bacon goes one can usually add some Bourbon with great success as well.
8 oz. dry macaroni
5 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
2.5 oz bacon (preferably cubed, but you can chop sliced bacon)
1 cup of milk
Start by cooking your macaroni as you would any normal pasta, by boiling it until it softens, but no longer.
In a saucepan, fry the bacon over medium heat, both cooking the bacon and coating the bottom of the pan with bacon grease. Add one shot’s worth (1.5 oz.) of Bourbon to deglaze the pan, and then sprinkle enough flour on the bacon bits to coat each thickly. This creates a little roux to thicken your cheese sauce.
Pour in the milk and stir for a few minutes, so the milk will soak up the roux and heat up. Once the milk is simmering, whisk in the cheese slowly, continuing to stir as you add the shredded cheese to ensure an even mixture. Add salt to taste, and you have your cheese sauce.
Put the macaroni in the saucepan and stir with the cheese sauce to evenly coat the pasta. Transfer the macaroni and cheese into a pot, cover the pot, and put the pot in the oven. Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes.