Big Phil’s Mac ’n’ Cheese
Serves Big Phil or 8 to 10 regular adults
2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat or unsalted butter
3 large shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups heavy cream
1 head roasted garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 cup shredded smoked gouda
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1 pound cooked macaroni elbows
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup cornbread crumbs
Heat the bacon fat in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot. Stir in the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the shallots and cook about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cream, roasted garlic, and thyme leaves along 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the cheeses. Toss the cheese sauce with the macaroni and transfer to a 3-quart baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over low heat. Stir in the bread crumbs to coat, then sprinkle over top the mac ’n’ cheese. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden and the mac ’n’ cheese is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, then serve.