Mac 'N Cheese with Bacon and OnionPat Tyler
(pasta, cheddar, olives, bacon, mushrooms, onions)
Yield: 8 servings
1 lb elbow macaroni
4 C milk
2 - 3 sprigs thyme
4 cloves garlic, smashed & divided
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
5 ½ C shredded sharp cheddar
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ C chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 3-oz can sliced ripe olives,
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, diced
¼ bunch fresh thyme leaves
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare 3-qt baking dish.
- Heat a sauté pan. Add the bacon, render the fat and cook until crispy. Add onion, garlic and thyme leaves and cook for about 5 min to soften the onion. Drain excess fat and season with salt and pepper.
- In small saucepan heat the milk with the thyme sprigs and 2 garlic cloves. Strain the solids out of the milk.
- Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is nice and smooth.
- Stir in 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Add the add the mushrooms and olives, and season with salt and pepper. Add the bacon mixture and mix.
- Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley, and fold that all in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a 3-qt baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1½ cups cheese. Cover and bake 30 min, or until hot and bubbly.
- Cover and bake until sauce bubbles and the cheeses on top melt, about 30 min.