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Smokey Mac n Cheese

This is definitely a recipe for grown-ups - no kids allowed. This is not a recipe that a typical kid would like. This is a totally souped-upped version or bacon-upped depending on your perspective.

Hmmm looks like regular Mac n Cheese...

Smokey Mac n Cheese

1lb pasta (I used Campanelle)
4 oz thick cut bacon (preferably homemade*)
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 c flour
1/2 c white wine
2 c skim milk
1/2 c heavy cream
1 t dry mustard
1 t ancho
1 t smokey paprika
4 oz Grueyre
4 oz cheddar cheese
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
3 tomatoes, cored and seeded
1/2 c panko
1T butter (perhaps additional depending on how fatty the bacon is and additional for greasing pan)

Cook pasta in salted water for about 5 minutes. Pasta should be still pretty tough.

Meanwhile cut bacon into small cubes. Saute in a saucepan until cooked - DO NOT drain fat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add flour and stir to form a roux. This should be fairly loose but you want it to cook until it turns a nice tan color. You may have to add additional butter depending on how fatty your bacon is (I had to add about another 1/2 T). Slowly add wine releasing the fond from the pan; stirring constantly and scraping bits from bottom of pan. Slowly add milk and cream stirring until thickened.  Add dry mustard, ancho, and paprika. Add the cheeses; stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.

After pasta is drained add chopped tomatoes into the pot and a little salt.  Cook for about a minute to remove excess water from tomatoes.  Add pasta and cheese sauce to the tomatoes. Stir to combine. Place pasta in a buttered casserole dish. In a small skillet add 1T butter. Once melted, add the panko. Sprinkle panko on top of pasta. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 or until panko is browned.

But it is so much more than that

I used Campanelle pasta. I didn't have any elbows on hand so to speak (haha).  You want to use a pasta that will catch the cheese. A small rotini might have been nice too. Yes I know this was a bit finicky (and all the pots you use) because I used skim milk and heavy cream but that is what I had. Feel free to use 2 1/2 c of whole milk.

*I've mentioned before that the Sous Chef makes his own bacon. A bit of work but definitely worth it as it freezes nicely. 


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