Monday, January 11, 2010

Recipe Spotlight: Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon & Onions

In the mood for something warm, comforting, and oozing with cheese? Well who isn't?! But wait, it gets better, delicious macaroni and cheese is elevated to soul food with the addition of bacon and onions. Oh my gosh this is one baked pasta that didn't stand a chance in my house! (I had thirds!- see "Wine of the Night" for my excuses). Use any short pasta you have on hand- I used fusilli- and any combination of cheeses, and before you know it you have a childhood favorite turned dinner party-worthy main dish. After all, who doesn't love gooey cheese, smokey bacon, sweet onions and creamy pasta?

Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon & Onions
Creamy, cheesy, sweet, salty... Soul food!
Serves 6

4 cups Fusilli (or any short noodle)
8 Tablespoons Butter
2 whole Medium Onions, Cut In Half And Sliced Thin
10 slices Regular Bacon
1 Tablespoon Bacon Grease (reserved From Bacon Slices)
¼ cups All-purpose Flour
2½ cups Whole  Milk
2 whole Egg Yolks, Beaten
Salt And Pepper, to taste
½ cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
½ cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
½ cups Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
4 ounces, weight Chevre (soft Goat Cheese)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni for half the time of the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Fry bacon until slightly, but not overly, crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Reserve grease. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in the  skillet and then saute onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and soft. Set aside.

In a separate pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter (and add 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease for good measure!). Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in milk and half & half, then cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until thick. Reduce heat to low. Add salt & pepper to taste. (Do not undersalt!)

Beat egg yolks and drizzle 1/4 cup hot mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly. Stir to combine. Pour egg mixture into sauce and cook for another minute.

Add cheeses and stir until melted. Add onions and bacon and stir. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if needed. Add cooked macaroni and stir to coat.

Pour into a baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until sizzling and hot.

Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks!, 


Wine of the Night
Tres Pinos Tierra Roja

Want to know why I ate three *big* servings of pasta? It was the wine. No kidding, this wine tasted SO good with the gooey mac& cheese that I kept eating it only to drink more wine and enjoy that sense of a perfect pairing, what I call umami in my mouth. It's that feeling of taking a yummy bite of food, and then taking a sip of wine and that food is suddenly elevated from yummy to mind-blowing delicious. If you can't find Tres Pinos, a super affordable Pinot Noir from Central California, try this dish with any Pinot or other sweet red wine you can find. Trust me, it makes the meal!

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