Macaroni and Cheese Pie

Oh k… so I had to get your attention. I don’t know what to call this recipe really, other than it includes bacon, cheese, bechemel sauce, and noodles. But the inspiration for it was something a friend of mine attempted to make the other weekend, I just upped the ante.

This recipe yields two pies, and has a number of steps, but let me tell you… so worth it. Also, check out a list of my other tailgating recipes.

2 refrigerated pie crusts
16 ounces bacon
12 ounces penne or macaroni pasta
14 large cheese ravioli
6 ounces smoked Gouda
6 ounces double creme Bri
6 ounces Blue Cheese
1 quart low fat milk
1 block cream cheese
2 1/2 tbs flour
1 onion
1 tbs tyme
10 sage leaves
garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste

The key to my pie is to make everything from scratch as much as possible. I have a great pie crust recipe, but did not have time before the football tailgate I was attending to sufficiently make it and let it rest. You are more than welcome to also make the crust. Whether or not you make the dough, or buy it, the first step is simple. The pie crust needs to be perforated, and baked off as to not make it soggy later.

Bake it for about 8 minutes at 425 degrees.  The crust should start to get golden but not dark at all.

A few layers go into this bake, so we have to start all of them. Let me explain. Get your water boiling for pasta and start cooking that; it should take about 11 minutes in which you have plenty of time to get the other elements working. Once the pasta is done, drain it. I would also lay the ravioli out on a paper towel, as those tend to hold water and we don’t want too much added moisture in the pie.

Next, cook your bacon, yes the whole pack, to about halfway done. I like my bacon crispy so for this, I want the strips to be slightly cooked down but still moveable. This will be important when we lattice the top of the pie later. Reserve the bacon fat.

Once the bacon is done, slice up a whole onion and add it to about 2 tbs of bacon fat. Cook the onions down to about half their size until they start to get caramelized. For the last minute of cooking, add the sage and thyme. Once the onions are done, set them to the side.

For the bechemel sauce, add 1 1/2 tbs butter to a pot and 1 tbs bacon fat. Add the flour and start working on a rue. The color should be a light to medium brown, before you add the milk. Once the milk is added, simmer at medium until it starts to thicken.

Next, add the cream cheese and work it down until it is all melted into the sauce. Add salt, pepper, and garlic to taste.

By now, you should have almost all of the components done: the pie crust is browned, onions cooked down, pasta drained, and the sauce is done. What I envisioned for this dish was to have chunks of delicious cheese melted in the pie along with a creamy cheese sauce integrating everything together.

For the smoked Gouda, Blue Cheese, and the Brie, they would be those flavor bursts. Instead of melting them down, I decided to chop up the cheeses and place them in a bowl. Once the cheese was all cut up, I added the penne noodles and tossed everything around.

The rest of the steps come down to assembly. But before you start layering components, turn your oven down to 375.

Take a pie crust and add a spoonful of the bechemel sauce, enough to cover the bottom of the pie. Start laying your cheese ravioli, about 7 per pie.

Once the ravioli is in, add half the onion mixture per pie. Spread it around evenly.

Next, add half the noodle mixture per pie. Press down to sort of smush everything together a bit. It can be mounded a little as well.

Pour bechemel sauce over the top of the noodles, coating every last one and creating a creamy top barrier.

Lastly, add the bacon lattice on top. Tuck the end into the pie crust under the edge noodles.

Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes. What you are looking for is the sauce to settle into the pie, the bacon to finish cooking, and the pie edges to not get too brown.

Bring this to your next party or tailgate and you will be the talk of the event! My friend Nicole seems to love it ;)

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