It seems to be the season for leg and foot related injuries for many of my friends. I’m sorry to say that it didn’t skip Maggie. Here is what happened…
This Food Network recipe just looked completely yummy so I had to try it. I decided to make it for my husband’s birthday. He asked for Chinese… oh well. This looked better to me. Happy Birthday, honey! (I took him out for Chinese at lunch! I am not that mean!)
I decided to prepare this before I had to run to the barn and feed the horses. It took awhile, with grating cheese, browning bacon, cooking pasta, and making a cheese sauce. No one ever said Mac N Cheese, (from scratch) was easy or quick! I got it all assembled, popped it in the oven on “delay start” and left for the barn.
While I was feeding, one of the horses smashed my foot. Happens all the time, so I shook it off, finished the barn (it takes awhile- there are over 20 horses) and headed home. The Mac N Cheese was perfect!
I took off my shoes and was shocked to see my injury was more serious than I knew… decision time: Husband’s birthday and amazing smelling and looking Mac N Cheese- versus- going directly to the ER and have my now Zombie looking toes attended to… so, popped the foot in a bucket to soak and we had dinner! Gross, I know, but it WAS his birthday. I knew we’d be at the ER for a good long while, so figured another 30 minutes for a nice dinner was ok… and it was.
I lost the tip of one toe, and the full toenail. Forever. But dinner was great. And the leftovers were even better!
Macaroni and Cheese Carbonara
What you need:
Kosher salt to taste
1 pound elbow macaroni
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I use kitchen shears)
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded (about 3 cups)
3 ounces Gruyere, shredded (about 1 cup- I used Swiss- because that’s what I had)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup panko bread crumbs
What you do:
Set an oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until it is al dente, about 6 minutes. Strain, reserving 1 3/4 cups of the pasta water. Set aside.
Cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until it is crispy and most of the fat has been rendered, about 15 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour the fat into a small heat-safe measuring cup. Add enough olive oil to total 1/4 cup of fat. Reserve.
Carefully wipe out the saucepan (or give it a quick rinse if it is really dirty). Add the half-and-half and 2 teaspoons pepper and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Add the cream cheese and stir until melted. Whisk in the Cheddar and Gruyere until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
Add the macaroni and the reserved pasta water to the saucepan and stir to combine. (It will look very loose, but the pasta will suck up a lot of the sauce as it bakes.) Season to taste with salt if needed. Gently fold in the bacon and 3/4 of the sliced scallions. Pour into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
Toss the bread crumbs with the reserved bacon-fat mixture and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are lightly browned and crispy, about 10 minutes.