Monday, October 7, 2013
Mac & Cheese with Bacon
I was sitting at my desk, early for work for a change. Someone came into my office and needed help. I realized I couldn't help her because I didn't work there anymore. I had shown up to the wrong office (I did just change jobs). So I jumped up to head across town to my new digs and I DIDN'T HAVE ANY PANTS ON. I quickly ran to the closet in my office, grabbed pants and left for the correct office. Then I woke up with a start...
"What are you dreaming now?" Dave mumbled next to me in bed.
"How did you know I was dreaming?" I asked.
"You sleep like a damn tornado."
He pulled the covers over his shoulders turned on his side and went back to sleep. I got up. There was no sleeping for me after that. I'm not sure which worried me more, the fact that I showed up to the wrong office and had a better closet there than at home, or the fact I didn't have pants on and it didn't seem to bother anyone but me. Dreams are weird, and if you analyze dreams, don't tell me what this is supposed to mean I really don't want to know.
Since I couldn't sleep, I figured I'd make something delicious to chase the dream away. I needed comfort food. And what better than loaded mac and cheese. Nothing is more comforting that warm, silky cheese sauce covering pasta and topped with salty, crunchy bacon. I ate two servings, I hope I have big girl pants in that closet in my office, I'm going to need them.
from Cook Like a Rock Star, Anne Burrell
Extra virgin olive oil
6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart whole milk, plus more if needed
1 lb. pasta shells
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups grated Fontina cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dijon mustard
Tabasco, to taste
Drizzle a bit of olive oil in a large saucepan, add the bacon, and bring the pan to medium heat; stir the bacon occasionally. When it's brown and crispy, 6-8 minutes, remove from the pan, drain on paper towels, and reserve.
Add the butter and onion to the pan with the bacon fat, season with salt, and cook until the onion is soft and aromatic, 8-10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes or until the mixture looks like wet sand. Slowly whisk in the milk, season with salt, bing to a boil and reduce to a simmer; cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is slightly thicker than heavy cream.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 1 minutes less than the instructions on the package suggest. Taste the pasta, it should be toothsome with just a little nugget of hard pasta still in the center - this is al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve.
Add the Cheddar, Fontina, and Parmesan to the milk mixture and whisk to combine. Add the mustard and a few shakes of Tabasco; taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, adding a little more milk if the mixture seems too thick. Stir in the cooked bacon and pasta. The mixture should be very creamy and flavorful. Transfer to a baking dish, or individual ramekins and heat in a 375°F oven until bubbly.
Makes 6-8 servings
October 7, 2013 Daylight 10 hrs. 35 mins. 36 secs. Temp. H 43/ L 34°F