Comfort Food Recipe- Meaty Mac n’ CheeseSeptember 18, 2013
Comfort food. There are some foods in our lives that conjure up feelings of warmth, nostalgia and for most, joy. Whether it’s the smell of grandma’s fresh baked cookies or a bowl of chicken noodle soup, there are a few foods that mean more to us than just a meal. Comfort foods can bring us back to a favorite memory or time period. Simple, yet flavorful are key characteristics of a great comfort food.
Even the country’s top chefs will tell you, there’s nothing quite like a dish that reminds you of home. World renowned chef and James Beard winner, Jacques Pepin credits his early success in New York City to his simple soup restaurant, La Potagerie, which featured classic, rustic French soups from his youth. At The Meat House a quintessential comfort meal consists of delicious, approachable and familiar flavors. One of our favorites is the all-American macaroni and cheese. While the classic is creamy and mouthwatering as is, we wanted to share a recipe that gives the classic dish a little Meat House twist.
Bacon & Cheddar Mac n’ Cheese
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for salting the pasta water
- 1 lb. fusilli (corkscrew) or other pasta (We also like elbow because it catches the extra cheese sauce inside!)
- 3/4 lb. bacon, diced
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups firmly packed shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (We like Boar’s Head Vermont Cheddar for the balance of creaminess and sharpness.)
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, (white and green parts), for garnish
- Bring a medium (6- to 8-quart) pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously. Stir in the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain (but don’t rinse, or you’ll rinse away starches that will help thicken the sauce) and return to the empty pot.
- Meanwhile, place a large (12- to 14-inch) sauté pan over high heat for several minutes. When hot, add the bacon and sauté until browned and crispy (lower the heat to medium-high if necessary to prevent scorching), about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.
- Pour off the fat from the pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium and continue to simmer until the cream is reduced slightly, about 3 minutes.
- Next, add the cheddar cheese and bacon. Stir well and cook over medium-high heat, stirring now and then, until the cheese has melted and the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.
- Stir the sauce into the cooked and drained pasta in the pot. Place over medium heat and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken the sauce and allow the pasta to absorb the flavors, stirring now and then.
- Serve in individual bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of sliced scallions. (While we recommend individual size bowls, the dish can also be served family style and topped tableside.)
The sharp cheddar paired with the smoky bacon are a perfect complement (not to mention extremely addicting!). Or, if it’s not meaty enough for you – cook and cut our legendary steak tips to bite-size pieces and add with bacon. For a little sweetness, caramelized onions can be added when stirring the cheese into the reduced cream. The most important thing to remember is that the best comfort food dishes are ones that make you happy. If you always had ham and peas in your mac, or chunks of broccoli, throw them in there! There’s no wrong way to cook for comfort.
Recipe adapted from: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/bacon-cheddar-macaroni-cheese.aspx