Third recipe from Tyler Florence #twtlish class on Twitter. It’s time to rethink this process though. Maybe mine should be more like twtlishish…I don’t want to go to the store to get ingredients for one dish when the fridge and cupboard are full, and sometimes take creative license with steps; so let’s just say this is my version of Tyler’s dish.
1 pound elbow macaroni (I used oreccihiette)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 1/2 lbs sharp white cheddar cheese (approx 5 cups shredded or cut into smaller squares)
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 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 ¼ bunch fresh thyme
2 cups frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to directions, until al dente. Drain.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the bacon in large, deep pan (I used a 5 qt stockpot so I could cook and bake in same pan) til half cooked, add 2-3 tbsp of olive oil, onion, garlic and thyme and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onion. My revision differs from the original in that I prefer cooking the bacon a bit before adding other ingredients so that it has a chance to develop a bit crisper texture before adding the onion. Fold in the peas and season with salt and pepper. Put in dish and set aside.
To same pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps form forming. Gradually whisk in the milk and, whisking vigorously, cook until the mixture is thick and smooth. (Tyler’s recipe called for 3 Tbsp ea of butter and flour; that was not making the sauce thick, so I had to add another 2 Tbsp of roux before it started to thicken). Another revision was not heating the milk as called for; guess I’m trying to minimize the pans required cause I’m doing cleanup, not my staff (wish I could teach the dog that trick!).
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 pasta, half the bacon pea mixture and the parsley and fold that all in to coat all with the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
To serve, scatter the remaining pea and bacon mixture over the mac and cheese. Use a big spoon to scoop out servings, making sure you get some of the pea mixture on each spoonful. Ok, so I put all the peas into the dish and that’s why you don’t see any in the topping. Tasted fine but misses the bright green crispness so would do half and half with both bacon and peas. Think adding half to the dish also increased the overall flavor of the macaroni itself.
Results were outstanding; dish presents great, has a very hearty flavor and even though meat is minimal made this a main course and just served a simple salad on the side; this dish is rich enough to not require much more!
For dessert, served Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies with fresh strawberries…yum!