Bacon and Brussels Sprout Mac and Cheese
- prep time20 min
- total time 75 min
- serves 6
This dish is versatile and serves 6 as a tasty main or 10 to 12 as a scrumptious side.
4 cups Brussels sprouts, on the larger side, or 1 large stalk
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 oz centre-cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
3 Tbsp butter
3 - 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp flour
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups whole milk
nutmeg, freshly grated
1 lb(s) cavatappi (hollow short curls of pasta with lines) or penne
1 cup white sharp Cheddar, shredded
1 cup Gruyere, shredded
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. With a sharp paring knife, core the Brussels sprouts and separate the leaves; place in a large bowl.
2. Heat a large pot of water to boil and salt the water. Parboil the leaves to tender crisp, 2 minutes. Remove with a spider, drain and cool. Dry the leaves on a kitchen towel.
3. Add more water to fill the pot back up for the pasta, return to a boil. Heat a saucepot over medium heat; add the EVOO and brown the bacon. Remove and drain.
4. Pour off most of the drippings, then add the butter and melt. Add the garlic and onions, stir 5 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper, then stir in the flour for 1 minute.
5. Whisk in the wine to deglaze the saucepot. Whisk in the stock and then the milk. Season with a little bit of nutmeg. Thicken the sauce to coat the back of a spoon.
6. Reduce the heat to low. Boil the pasta to just shy of al dente, 5 to 6 minutes, drain. Stir two-thirds each of the Cheddar, Gruyere and Parmigiano-Reggiano into the sauce in a figure-eight motion.
7. Drain the pasta, then toss with the Brussels sprouts, bacon and sauce, and pour into a baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal, or bake to serve. Place into the oven and bake until heated through and bubbly and brown on top.