Bacon and Brussels Sprout Mac and Cheese
- 2 pints or 1 large stalk Brussels sprouts on the larger side
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/3 pound center-cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 cups whole milk
- Black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 1 pound cavatappi pasta (hollow short curls with lines) or penne
- 1 cup white sharp cheddar, shredded
- 1 cup Gruyere, shredded
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
Yields: 6 as entrée, 10-12 as starter or side
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
With a sharp paring knife, core the Brussels sprouts and separate the leaves. Place in a large bowl.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and par-boil the leaves 2 minutes or so to tender crisp. Remove with a spider, drain and cool, and dry on a kitchen towel. Add more water to fill the pot back up for the pasta and return to boil.
Heat a saucepot over medium heat with the EVOO and brown bacon; remove and drain. Pour off most of the drippings then add butter and melt. Add onions and garlic, stir 5 minutes, add a little salt and pepper, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in wine to deglaze; whisk in stock and then milk. Cook to thicken and season with nutmeg to taste. Reduce heat to low.
Boil pasta 5-6 minutes to just shy of al dente; drain.
Stir 2/3 of the cheeses into sauce in a figure-8 motion. Drain pasta, toss with Brussels sprouts, bacon and sauce, and pour into a baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and heat through in the oven, about 10-12 minutes.
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