Do you read The Pioneer Woman? You should be. Really.
The stories from her Oklahoma cattle ranch.
Her recipes. Oh, my, her recipes.
Now, I’ll be honest. I’ve tackled only one of Ree’s recipes, and it’s the one I’m going to share with you today. And I have to admit that while the taste lived up to the hype, I’m a little skeptical of her labels of “Prep Time: 20 minutes” and “Difficulty: Easy.”
Per Ree’s suggestion, this Fancy Macaroni graced our Christmas table one night. It was the perfect accompaniment to the honey-glazed spiral ham my grandma brought to dinner.
But it took my mom and I WAY longer than 20 minutes to prep, and considering the number of dishes and utensils we sullied in the process, I don’t think I, with clear conscience, lead you to believe that this is an “easy” recipe. I, for one, do not find a recipe this involved to be easy. (Maybe if you’re Ree, who cooks for the masses on a cattle ranch, and who has actually had a cookbook published and all; but lil’ ol’ me? Not so much.)
Then I got to thinking, maybe Mom and I were just preoccupied talking and such, so it may have just taken us longer than if we’d been focused on the prep. So I decided to make the recipe again for our small group potluck Sunday night.
Yeah. It took me a sweet forever to get this assembled. Maybe it was because I was pacing myself so as not to overdo it (being on the start of modified bed rest and all), but I don’t think so. In the time it took me to slice the onions, cook the bacon (I chose to bake it), grate the cheese, and all the other various steps, I’d also had time to bake and frost a double layer chocolate cake. From scratch.
I’m not kidding.
Again, maybe if you’re had-a-cookbook published skilled like good ol’ P-Dubn herself, then you just go on with your bad self and tell the world that this is an “easy” recipe. Me, I’ll just tell myself as I enter the second hour of making this dish that the divine taste is worth it.
Once a year.
*That said, I DO believe that this recipe is worth your time and effort. It is that good.
The Pioneer Woman’s Fancy Macaroni
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
4 cups Macaroni
8 Tablespoons Butter
2 whole Medium Onions, Cut In Half And Sliced Thin
10 slices Regular Bacon
1 Tablespoon Bacon Grease (reserved From Bacon Slices)
¼ cups All-purpose Flour
2 cups Whole Or 2% Milk
½ cups Half & Half
2 whole Egg Yolks, Beaten
Salt And Pepper, to taste
½ cups Grated Gruyere Cheese
½ cups Grated Fontina Cheese
½ cups Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
4 ounces, weight Chevre (soft Goat Cheese)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook macaroni for half the time of the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Fry bacon until slightly, but not overly, crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Reserve grease.
- Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet and then saute onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and soft. Set aside.
- In a pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter (and add 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease for good measure!). Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in milk and half & half, then cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until thick. Reduce heat to low. Add salt & pepper to taste. (Do not undersalt!)
- Beat egg yolks and drizzle 1/4 cup hot mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly. Stir to combine. Pour egg mixture into sauce and cook for another minute.
- Add cheeses and stir until melted. Add onions and bacon and stir. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if needed. Add cooked macaroni and stir to coat.
- Pour into a baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until sizzling and hot. Serve with red meat or a green salad.
I have copied the recipe exactly as Ree has it on her site, but I’d encourage you to click over there yourself, just to check out her step-by-step photography. It’s as delicious as the dish!