I’ve written about macaroni and cheese before, and here I am writing about it again. I love it! This recipe is very yummy, but be forewarned: it is downright sinful. It is a vegan’s worst nightmare. It combines lots of cheese and bacon, so let’s just say it isn’t diet food.
My good friend Jill makes a fantastic baked mac and cheese topped with sliced tomatoes, which get all sweet and delicious in the oven. I couldn’t stop eating it at her last party! I also love the decadent mac and cheese at my favorite local French bistro, which combines Gruyere cheese and bacon (cue the salivary glands). Since I had tomatoes, gruyere, and bacon all on hand, I figured I would combine these two ideas into one yummy dish.
I do have one short-cut that I will pass along: I buy pre-cooked bacon. I love bacon, but I can’t stand the smell it leaves in your house. Pre-cooked is a little more expensive, but the way it is packaged, you can just use as many strips as you like without dislodging the whole slab. I keep it in the freezer and just pull out the cooked strips as I need them. I also opt for organic and nitrate-free bacon when I can find it. I’m not going to pretend that this bacon is healthier, because it’s still bacon. However, it makes me feel a tiny bit better about eating bacon, so it works for me.
Hopefully this sinful dish will work for you!
12 oz pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained (elbows, spirals, shells, or penne)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk (I used skim)
3 ½ cups grated cheese (I used a combination of Gruyere and cheddar)
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 small tomato, sliced, or a handful of grape tomatoes, halved
2.5 quart casserole dish, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Set a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook pasta. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add flour and whisk vigorously to form a roux. Cook for about a minute, then add milk. Cook (but do not boil) for about 5 minutes, while whisking, until slightly thickened.
Remove from heat and add 3 cups of shredded cheese and stir to melt completely. Add in crumbled bacon and combine.
Add cooked pasta to cheese mixture, season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to prepared casserole dish.
Top with remaining ½ cup shredded cheese and sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top in an even layer. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top and bake for about 20 minutes until hot and bubbly, breadcrumbs are toasted, and tomatoes are cooked. You may need to pop it under the broiler for the last couple minutes to insure the top will get browned.