When conversations about what to have for dinner happen, Ryan and I often have differing opinions on what is suitable. Especially when we collaborate. I prefer simple, mostly healthy meals while he prefers to eat something delicious that is filling and feels good in your mouth and has meat. All valid qualities in a good meal.
Which is why, when I said that I wanted to use one of our bags of pasta from our slowly growing Quinciple collection, he suggested mac & cheese. With bacon.
FIIIIIIIINE. THIS IS WHY I GO VEGAN FOR LUNCH.
Once I’m unleashed in full fat mode, there is no turning back. Here’s what you need for our Fat Bastard Bacon Mac:
8-10 strips of bacon
2 shallots, minced
1 bunch scallions, sliced into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces.
Fontina and Munster cheese – shredded, cubed, whatever. It’ll all melt anyway. If you shred it it will melt faster. About a cup of each.
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, split into two portions. This is not an exact measurement, it’s what we had left.
1 tub creme fraiche
Butter to grease the baking dish
1 lb pasta, cooked al dente in salted water and put through a cold water bath
1. Preheat oven to 400. Heat up a heavy-bottomed pot. Grease your baking dish – a 9×9 one works well for this recipe.
2. Cut up bacon into big chunks, then drop it into the pot. Cook until lightly crisp, then drain. Leave the fat in the pot, leave the heat on. Bacon fat is great because its burn point is really high. Add the shallots in and cook until tender.
3. Add about 5-7 good tablespoons of flour to the pot and cook it in the bacon fat. It should turn light brown after about 6-8 minutes, and then you can start whisking the milk in, in small batches. We had a quart of milk and I used about 3/4 of it. At this point I added some spices – cayenne pepper, paprika. Also about a tablespoon of dijon mustard.
4. Once the milk mixture has thickened, add the cheese and whisk until thickened. Add half of the parmesan cheese.
5. Add the pasta, scallions, and cooked bacon. Dump it all into the baking dish and top with the remaining parmesan cheese.
6. Put it in the oven. It might help to put a cookie sheet under the baking dish in case it bubbles over. Bake for about 25 minutes, then turn the broiler on until the cheese on top is golden and crisp.
7. Take the dish out of the oven and let it stand for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
This is great cooking music. They are on tour now – I’ve been wanting to see them since I was 13.
I also made a Caesar salad on the side. Because HEALTHY.