I have been craving a good Mac n’ Cheese for weeks so decided to do a little twist. For starters, Mac N’ Cheese does not always need to be with Macaroni noodles. It just has to be noodles that will soak in the sauce, but not so much that it dries out. Cavatappi works just as well. I also added some broccoli and topped it with crispy bacon and breadcrumbs. De-lish!
1 head of broccoli, stems trimmed
4 slices of smokey bacon
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. Cavatappi pasta
4 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups ice for ice bath
Salt and pepper to taste
Pan fry the bacon in a medium-high skillet until crispy. When finished, set on a plate covered with a paper towel to cool.
Boil a pot of water. Cut the broccoli florets into small pieces. When the water is boiling, add the florets and blanch for about 3 minutes. Strain and add to a bowl of ice water immediately.
Boil a pot of water. Add the pasta and cook about 6 minutes. Strain and set aside.
Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until it makes a thick paste. Add the milk and dry mustard. Stir constantly and heat for about 3 minutes until very hot. Sprinkle in 1 3/4 cups of the cheese slowly, stirring constantly until it makes a thick cheese sauce. Set the remaining cheese aside for topping. Season with salt and pepper to taste but be careful with the salt- the cheese has a lot of salt in it already. Remove from heat.
Once sauce is thickened, mix together with the pasta and strained broccoli. Pour mixture into a casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs, remaining cheese and bacon pieces. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.