|Cheddary mac and cheese, with sun-dried tomatoes, bacon and other good stuff|
No ... more ... PASTA?
Well, spare tire, unless hell freezes over, looks like you're here to stay.
I realize this is the second pasta dish I'm highlighting this week but sometimes that's just the way it goes. There will be something sweet soon, I promise.
And you can't be too upset with mac and cheese, really. As I'm fond of saying, this is one of those don't-waste-it-on-picky-children dishes, an adult mac and cheese, loaded with all sorts of colored, non-bland foods that today's kids bitch about: ham, bacon, green onion, sun-dried tomatoes. Oh yeah, and stinky blue cheese.
Simply put: wicked awesome.
Believe it or not, my version is actually a bit healthier (okay, less artery-clogging) than the original, which is just one of many variations they apparently serve at the Wicked Spoon in The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (yeah, you knew I would make this one just because the restaurant is called the Wicked Spoon).
It certainly ain't Detox January anymore, is it?
Wicked Mac and Cheese (adapted from a Wicked Spoon recipe via Saveur)
1 lb. whole wheat or multi-grain pasta (I used rotini)
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups low-fat half and half
8 ounces grated white cheddar cheese (I used Cabot Seriously Sharp), divided
7-8 ounces cooked ham, chopped
3 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onion
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
1/2 cup panko
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package directions, timing it to be done at the same time as the sauce.
In a large pot, heat the butter over medium-high heat until bubbly. Add the flour and whisk for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Add the milk and half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened (a few minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in 6 ounces of the cheddar cheese, then add the ham, bacon, tomatoes, green onion and nutmeg. Season sauce to taste with salt, pepper and Tabasco.
Combine pasta and sauce and pour into a greased 9 inch by 13 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 ounces of cheddar, followed by the panko. Bake about 30 minutes or until the panko turns golden.