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Mac ‘n Cheese Bacon Bowls with Pasilla Chile

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) package thin sliced bacon
  • 1 pasilla chile, roasted and seeded, cut small dice
  • 2 cups small shell pasta
  • 1¾ cups mozzarella cheese, small dice
  • 1¼ cups Taleggio cheese, small dice
  • ¾ cup Gouda cheese, small dice
  • 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 teaspoons arrow root
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs


Procedures:

Wrap bacon around bacon bowl molds and place over indirect heat. Cook bacon 35 to 45 minutes until fully rendered, emptying the bacon grease as needed while cooking. Allow rack to cool slightly, then remove bacon bowls and turn rack upside down. Place bacon bowls into cups and set aside. Toast panko bread crumbs in a small sauté pan and set aside.

In a medium sized pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a rapid boil and cook pasta shells 7 to 8 minutes until slightly al dente. Drain pasta and run under cold water to keep the pasta from overcooking, then mix it with a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking.

Roast Pasilla chile over direct high heat until it is completely charred and black. Place chile into a medium sized bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow chile to steam 10 to 15 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and peel charred skin from chile, then rinse it briefly to ensure all the skin has been taken off. Remove the top of the chile and take out the seeds and membrane. Dice chile into small cubes and set aside.

In a large pot, add cream and milk and bring to a simmer. Add each of the four cheeses one at a time while stirring constantly until all the cheese is incorporated and melted. Mix arrow root with 2 tablespoons water and stir to combine. Add arrowroot mix, pasta, and diced chiles to the cream and continue stirring until thick, about 2 to 3 minutes. Fill bacon bowls with macaroni and cheese, top with breadcrumbs, and bake another 4 to 5 minutes until hot.

by Sur La Table

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