Bacon Mac`n`Cheese Campanelle pasta with a Bechamel sauce, Gruyere and Muenster cheeses, jowl bacon, leeks, and mushrooms
When I was little my mom used to make mac and cheese with a bechamel sauce. She would normally put ham and cheddar and American cheeses in it. This recipe is an homage to my childhood, refined for modern tastes.
1lb Campanelle pasta, cooked
1/4lb Jowl Bacon, medium dice
1 Leek, white and light green parts only, julienne
5 Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 Yellow Onion, studded with a bay leaf and clove
2tbl Unsalted butter
2tbl AP Flour
1/2lb Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2lb Muenster cheese, grated
as needed Kosher Salt
as needed White Pepper
handful of fresh chopped parsley
1. Cook pasta and set aside.
2. In a 10 to 12 inch straight-sided pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy, set aside.
3. Sweat leek and mushrooms in the bacon grease, set aside.
4. Melt butter in the pan, and then add the flour. Constantly whisk for about five minutes, until the roux has a nutty smell and slightly darker color.
5. Add the milk and whisk, to remove any lumps in the roux. Add the quarter onion studded with a clove and bay leaf, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, whisking occasionally.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 3.5-4 quart oven-safe dish.
7. Remove the studded onion, and gradually fold in the cheese, reserving about 4 ounces for topping the pasta. Fold in the cooked pasta, bacon, leek, mushroom, and parsley. Adjust mixture for taste with salt and white pepper.
8. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish, and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted. Let dish rest for 10 minutes, then serve.