Mac and Cheese a la Fortuna
4 slices bacon
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, crumble, and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the cheeses, a dash of salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon; stir well. Pour into 2 buttered individual size gratin dishes.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a sauté pan, add the panko crumbs, and toss to coat. Stir in the horseradish. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top. Makes 2 servings.