Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The smokey bacon enhances the sharp cheddar, Parmesan adds it's strong flavors as background support, cream cheese makes it velvety smooth, feta adds bites of sharp salty goodness. Broccoli is only made better by cheese so it's a natural in this dish. The bacon makes a return appearance in the crumb topping which is delicately herbed and provides a nice crunch to the soft texture of pasta in cheese sauce.
Bacon and broccoli mac and cheese
makes about 6 dinner size portions, 10-12 side dish size portions
1 package bacon, sliced into small pieces, cooked crisp, reserve fat
1 head broccoli florettes cut into very small pieces
1-2 T fine minced onions
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c feta cheese
4 cups milk
1/4 c reserved bacon fat
1/2 c flour
1 lb shell pasta cooked al dente (use your favorite shape!)
3 slices bread OR1/2 sleeve butter crackers, crushed to crumbs
3/4 t thyme
kosher salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Reserve about 1/4 c bacon bits for topping.
In the bacon fat sautee the onions until they start to brown and caramelize, about 2 minutes. When onions are at desired brownness add the flour and whisk to incorporate. Stir flour roux over medium to medium high heat until slightly browned and toasty smelling. Slowly whisk in the milk, sauce may clump at first, keep whisking and slowly adding milk, it'll work itself out. Bring sauce to a simmer, cook for 2-3 minutes stirring very frequently to avoid scorch spots.
Remove from heat, add the cheddar, cream and parmesan cheeses, stirring until melted.
While cheese sauce is cooking cook pasta. When there's about 4 minutes left in the cooking add the broccoli to the pasta water. Cook pasta according to manufactures instruction until pasta is al dente. Drain well and add cooked pasta and broccoli to the cheese sauce, stir well then add feta cheese and bacon, mix to combine.
Pour into a sprayed casserole dish. This will really fill up the dish so I'd recommend putting the dish on a baking sheet to catch any spill overs.
Make crumb topping by combining the crackers or bread with the thyme, paprika, a pinch of salt & pepper in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you have medium size crumbs. Add the reserved bacon bits, pulse a few more times to chop bacon & distribute the bacon's fat to the crumbs.
Top the casserole with bacon crumbs and bake for 20-30 min or until crumbs are toasted and cheese is bubbling on the sides.
Nutrition Facts calculated at SparkPeople recipe calculator 6 meal size servings Amount Per Serving Calories 1,013.2 Total Fat 53.5 g Saturated Fat 30.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat 3.1 g Monounsaturated Fat 17.0 g Cholesterol 174.6 mg Sodium 1,620.4 mg Potassium 851.2 mg Total Carbohydrate 87.5 g Dietary Fiber 5.2 g Sugars 7.7 g Protein 47.5 g
Posted by Andrea the Kitchen Witch at 9:16 AM