Asparagus and Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
Taking the ultimate comfort food and stepping it up by adding bacon (I mean, hello.), asparagus and some decadent aged white cheddar and extremely sharp cheddar cheese. Macaroni and Cheese doesn’t get much more decadent than this!
Written by: Carla of Carla’s Confections Blog
Be honest with me… do you like boxed Macaroni and Cheese? I promise no judgement here, but I truly do not like it.
I try. I really do. I have tried it a few times recently and ended up throwing the entire batch away.
Maybe I’m a mac and cheese snob but I just cannot help it. When I dream (read: daydream and drool at the same time) about comfort food, my mind immediately goes to macaroni and cheese and I just can’t help that my taste buds are calling out for the fancy stuff!
Whenever I make a batch, I always try to mix it up a bit with adding new veggies and trying different cheeses each time. I also love trying all sorts of pasta shapes with each batch, and I must say that these Campanelle noodles are pretty darn cute and make this taste ahh-mazing! I don’t think that’s in my head. It’s a fact that noodle shapes absolutely dictate pasta flavor.
Who will back me up??
The only ingredient you will find in every single one of my macaroni and cheese recipes is – you guessed it – bacon. Because the world does not go round without bacon. And that’s all I have to say on the subject.
I do know that making this homemade certainly takes longer and yes definitely makes more dishes, but isn’t that what husbands are for?! You cook. They clean. Or it should be anyway.
So go make this now and then proceed to make your husband clean the mess.
Just kidding. Don’t do that. I don’t want to get yelled at tonight.
What screams comfort food to you?
Asparagus and Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: serves 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Time: 40-45 minutes
Macaroni and Cheese stepped up a notch with asparagus, bacon and fancy cheeses including aged and sharp white cheddar cheeses. The ultimate comfort food.
4 pieces thick cut bacon
1/2 large purple onion
1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and woody parts removed
1 lb pasta of choice (I used Campanelle noodles)
1 tsp minced garlic, or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk (or half&half or heavy cream)
freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp crushed red pepper, optional
3 cups shredded cheese mixture, I used aged sharp white cheddar cheese and extremely sharp white cheddar cheese
Start out by cooking the bacon over medium high heat in a skillet, turning every couple minutes until bacon is fully cooked. Remove onto a paper towel to drain excess fat. Reserve the fat in the skillet.
At the same time, cook pasta according to package directions, stopping just shy of al dente.
Cut up veggies while bacon is cooking. Chop purple onion thinly, and once asparagus is washed and woody ends are removed, cut in half, so it will be more manageable to bite into.
Once the asparagus is cut in half, cook in the same skillet with the bacon fat over medium high heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Cook for about 5 minutes, and then add garlic and onion. Lower heat to medium and continue cooking until onions are translucent, roughly 5-10 minutes.
Add flour, stir around for a minute, and add milk, cream, half&half or any mixture of the three (I used only whole milk). Add in all the seasonings at this point: salt, pepper, paprika, nutmeg and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir slightly and allow to thicken up a bit.
Drain pasta once it is ready and set aside until needed.
Once the milk and veggie mixture is thickened, stir in the cheese until it is all melted, and then pour entire mixture over the pasta and stir until combined.
Serve warm and store any remaining pasta in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to eat. Reheat in microwave or oven on a low temperature until heated through.