Bacon And Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

Bacon and Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

Mother’s Best by Lisa Schroeder with Danielle  Centoni; Taunton Press (2009) Photographs by Ellen  Silverman

Bacon and Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

Pasta

Lunch

 

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Ingredients

1 teaspoon                    kosher salt,  plus more for salting the pasta water 2 cups                      firmly packed  shredded sharp Cheddar cheese  (about 1⁄2 pound; Love Note 3)
1 pound                    fusilli (corkscrew)  or other pasta, preferably De Cecco 1/4 teaspoon                      freshly  ground black pepper
3/4 poundbacon,  diced (about 1 cup cooked; Love Notes 1 and 2) 1/2 cup                      sour cream, for  garnish
3 cups                    heavy cream 1/2 cup                      thinly  sliced scallions, (white and green parts), for garnish

                  Yield:                                4-6                Servings

directions

Prep:                  5 min                Total:                  30 min (Quick)

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  • 1Bring a medium (6- to 8-quart) pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously (it  should taste like the sea). Stir in the pasta and cook according to the package  directions. Drain (but don’t rinse, or you’ll rinse away starches that will help  thicken the sauce) and return to the empty pot.
  • 2Meanwhile, place a large (12- to 14-inch) sauté pan over high heat for  several minutes. When hot, add the bacon and sauté until browned and crispy  (lower the heat to medium-high if necessary to prevent scorching), about 5  minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon or spatula,  remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.
  • 3Pour off the fat from the pan (into a metal can or heatproof cup, not down  the drain or you’ll potentially clog your pipes) and return the pan to  medium-high heat. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil, scraping up any  browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium and continue  to simmer until the cream is reduced slightly, about 3 minutes.
  • 4Add the Cheddar cheese and bacon. Stir well and cook over medium-high heat,  stirring now and then, until the cheese has melted and the mixture thickens,  about 3 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.
  • 5Stir the sauce into the cooked and drained pasta in the pot. Place over  medium heat and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken the sauce and allow the  pasta to absorb the flavors,  stirring now and then.
  • 6Serve in individual bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle  of sliced scallions.
  • 7Variation: Lorraine Mac & Cheese: You can easily change  up this recipe by using the classic flavors of a quiche Lorraine for  inspiration. You just have to add caramelized onions and substitute Swiss cheese  for the Cheddar.
  • 8Pour off all but 2 tablespoons grease from the cooked bacon. Add 2 cups of  finely sliced yellow onions and sauté over medium heat until soft, brown, and  caramelized, about 20 minutes. Pour in the 3 cups of cream and continue with the  recipe (step 3), substituting firmly packed shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese for  the Cheddar.
  • 9If you have cooked, crumbled bacon and caramelized onions on hand, the recipe  is even easier. When stirring the cheese into the reduced cream, just add 1 cup  bacon crumbles and 1⁄2 cup caramelized onions, too. Then proceed with the  recipe.
  • 10Love Notes: At Mother’s, we prepare a lot of our components  in large batches ahead of time, like the bacon crumbles in this recipe. It’s a  real time-saver, and a good idea for home cooks, too. To make things easier, try  fitting the work into a recipe you’re already cooking, like this one. That way  you’re not getting pots and pans dirty just for the heck of it. For example,  cook twice the amount of bacon and save the rest in the fridge or freezer for  salads, scrambles, or sandwiches.
  • 11Dicing slippery, floppy bacon is tough—unless you firm it up with a 10- to  15-minute stint in the freezer. Stack the strips to make the job go even  faster.
  • 12Avoid preshredded cheese. It may seem like a time-saver, but much of the  cheese’s flavor has dissipated, and the starchy coating on the outside will  interfere with the sauce.

 

 

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