Tyler Florence's Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups of milk
5-1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1/4 cups chipped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices bacon (cut crosswise into thin strips)
1 large onion, diced
2 gloves garlic (minced)
leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme (about 1 Tbsp)
1 cups frozen peas (thawed in a colander under cool water)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep lumps from forming. Gradually whisk in the milk and, whisking vigorously, cook until mixture is thick and smooth.
Stir in 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley to the skillet, and stir to coat. Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1-1/2 cups cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, garlic and thyme and saute for about 5 minutes to soften the onion, stirring. Fold in peas and season with salt and pepper. To serve, saute pea-and-bacon mixture over the mac and cheese.
**Changes/Variations - 3/4 lb elbow macaroni, 3 cups of milk, shredded gourmet Cheddar blend (blend of Wisconsin, New York and Vermont Sharp Cheddar cheese), no olive oil, 7 slices of bacon, green onion (green and white parts), and dried thyme (about 1 tsp). Everything else was as the recipe stated.