This is one of those dishes where looking at it through the lens just wasn’t cutting it for me, I needed to dig right in. No time for setting a scene or arranging backdrops and accessories, I left it right there on the oven tray. Heck, I barely got the thing in focus. This yummy concoction is a melange of bubbly cheesy pasta and lots of crisp bacon, anchored in the center by a barely set egg. It’s the stuff foodie dreams are made of, and the stars don’t align like this every day, so I know you’ll excuse me from my artistic duties just this once…and really it’s a win win situation, I get to eat, and you get the recipe for an indulgent variation on mac & cheese. And then you’ll get to eat. I think that’s fair.
This dish starts with a good amount of thick cut bacon. The easiest and neatest way to cook it is on a baking sheet in the oven. Lay it out and cook it at 350F until it’s just the way you like it. For this recipe you want to get it crisp enough to crumble. Oh, and save some of the grease, that’s the secret ingredient.
I just got back from a family wedding in Erie, PA, and we discovered this at a local bar one night. Erie’s on the cusp of the great Midwest, and a lot of the food we ate had that wonderful hearty comfort vibe. We didn’t have a ton of fresh veggies, but we ate well. Tim Horton’s pumpkin doughnuts and coffee in the morning on the deck of our Airbnb (omg I love Airbnb, our lakefront house was so much less than the hotel the rest of the family was
stuck staying in!) ) and this kind of late night ‘snack’ bracketed all the normal wedding food. I’m still working it off, but it was worth it.
I know you’re going to love this mac & cheese, that’s not a question, but I do wonder whether you’ll want to eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or maybe a romantic midnight feast. As you know I ate mine the minute it came out of the oven, no idea what time it was.
- about 16 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled, reserve 3-4 Tbsp of the fat
- 2 cups dry elbow pasta,
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 medium or large eggs, at room temperature
- black pepper
- Set oven to 375F
- Cook the pasta in lots of well salted water just to the al dente stage. Drain and toss with the reserved bacon fat.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for about a minute, and then slowly pour in the milk, stirring or whisking constantly to combine all the flour into the milk. Continue heating and stirring until the mixture thickens, this will happen just as the milk is getting to the boiling point.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the cheese, a little at a time, stirring to melt.
- Add the cooked pasta and half the bacon crumbles to the sauce, tossing to combine well. Divide the mixture between 4 oven safe bowls.
- Make an indentation in the center of each bowl with the back of a large spoon for the egg. Crack an egg into each . Put the bowls on a baking sheet and bake until the eggs are just set, about 20 minutes or so, depending on how you like our egg done. Turn up the heat to 400F if your egg is slow to set.
- Grind some fresh black pepper over each bowl, and scatter the rest of the crumbled bacon around the egg just before serving.
A big YUM :)