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Photo by: Kathryn Barnard
This recipe is incredibly dear to me, because it was my first award-winning dish. A couple of years ago, over a hundred people in Seattle attended a charity event in which sixteen chefs competed against one another for the title of “Best Mac-and-Cheese.” Being by far the youngest and least experienced entrant, I was overjoyed when I won. This mac-and-cheese is packed with bacon, fresh herbs, a blend of four cheeses, and a crispy crumb topping. I hope this is a dish you’ll both share as often as my husband and I do.
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain, reserving the drippings in the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet, then add the onions and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Stir in the flour and the wine, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the half-and-half, marjoram, thyme, red pepper flakes, pepper, mozzarella, blue cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Gruyere. Stir until the cheeses melt into the cream sauce and the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Taste the sauce and if necessary, season with the salt. Add the cooked pasta, mixing thoroughly to coat with the sauce.
2. In a small skillet, toast the panko with the remaining butter until it is golden brown and crisp. Season with a tiny pinch of pepper and salt, if desired.
3. Spoon the pasta into big bowls and top with a generous amount of panko and a sprinkle of bacon. Garnish with a few snipped chives, if desired.
Nutrients per serving (% daily value)
Nutritional information is based on 4 servings.