1. Heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it just starts
to bubble, but is not boiling, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
2. Heat the butter over medium heat in a separate,
heavy-bottomed pot. When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk
constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from
3. Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the
butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly. It will get very thick when you
first add the milk, and thinner as you slowly pour in the entire 3 cups. This
4. Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over
medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly. In the next 2 to 3 minutes
the sauce should come together and become silky and thick. Use the spoon test
to make sure it’s ready (see picture, opposite). To do this, dip a metal spoon
into the sauce—if the sauce coats the spoon and doesn’t slide off like milk,
you’ll know it’s ready. You should be able to run your finger along the spoon
and have the impression remain. Add the salt.
5. The Mac Sauce is ready to use immediately and does not need
to cool. Store it in the fridge for a day or two if you want to make it ahead
of time—it will get a lot thicker when put in the fridge, so it may need a
little milk to thin it out a bit when it comes time to melt in the cheese. Try
melting the cheese into the sauce first, and if it is too thick then add milk
Makes 3 cups
1/2 pound dried elbow pasta
1/2 pound sliced bacon
2 cups Mac Sauce
2 cups grated extra-sharp, aged Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less
than al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain the pasta again.
3. Cook the bacon in a frying pan over high heat until crispy,
about 8 minutes.
4. Remove extra grease by patting the strips with a paper
towel, and then cut into bite-size pieces. Add the sauce and cheese to a large,
heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely
melted, about 3 minutes. Add the bacon and stir to combine. Slowly add the
cooked pasta, stir, and continue cooking while stirring continuously until the
dish is nice and hot, another 5 minutes. Spoon the mac and cheese into 4 individual,
5-inch-diameter ovenproof bowls.
5. Sprinkle the panko evenly on top of each bowl. Bake until
bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.
6. While the macs are cooking, fry the eggs: Melt 1 tablespoon
of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Crack 2 of the eggs
into the pan, cover, and let cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes. The eggs are
done when all the egg white is completely opaque, and the yolk is still nice
and bright. Slide the eggs onto a plate and repeat with the remaining
tablespoon of butter and 2 eggs.
7. Remove the macs from the oven, and slide a fried egg on top
of each one. Top each egg with some black pepper. Serve immediately.