I have a new unwritten goal: I want to taste every mac & cheese recipe out. Why not? Creamy, cheesy, baked noodles are something I can really get behind. I mean think about it. Yeah, let’s do it! In this case Tyler Florence finishes the dish with a smoky bacon, pea and onion mixture. Can I get a whoo whoo! I thought it was delicious… my kids might tell you a different story (but they are all under the age of 10). And don’t ask Owen either, he doesn’t like bacon. I don’t want to talk about it. But you and I know what’s good, and it does not come from a box. It is this…
Serves 6 to 8
1 pound elbow macaroni
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 cups warm milk
5 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Extra virgin olive oil
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
Leaves from 1/4 bunch of fresh thyme
2 cups frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over hight heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep lumps from forming. Gradually whisk in the milk and , whisking vigorously, cook until the mixture is thick and smooth. Stir in 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley and fold that all in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
While that’s going, heat a 2 count of olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the bacon, onion, garlic, and thyme and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onion. Fold in the peas and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, scatter the pea and bacon mixture over the mac and cheese. Use a big spoon to scoop out servings, making sure you get some of the smoky pea mixture into each spoonful.
*Not mentioned, but from the looks of his picture… It seemed like it was topped with Parmesan cheese before serving. So, I did too.