Plenty of people are passionate about food – good food – and perhaps none more so than the people out there who read and comment on food blogs. And that’s where we got dinner tonight.
On the post about National Pasta Month, reader Anna mentioned her friend’s “desperation” macaroni & cheese. Broccoli & bacon + macaroni & cheese. It may have been created in a moment of desperation, but there is nothing second-rate about it.
I modified our favorite stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe to use what we had in the cheese & veggie bins: fontina, cheddar, bacon, and 1 1/2 crowns of the saddest looking broccoli you’ve ever seen. If you’re unfamiliar with the original recipe, it uses fat-free, high-protein Greek yogurt in the cheese sauce. The yogurt and fontina help the cheddar melt into a smoother sauce. If you can’t get fontina, try white American cheese – just using more cheddar and other less melt-friendly cheeses won’t be very pretty.
You can feel good about yourself for adding broccoli. And just feel good about the bacon
Broccoli and Bacon Macaroni & Cheese
Broccoli and bacon make macaroni and cheese a one-dish dinner.
- 8 oz penne pasta
- 4 thick slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 1/2 crowns of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use fat-free Greek)
- Dash of hot sauce
- 4 oz fontina, shredded
- 4 oz cheddar, shredded
- In a medium saute pan, cook the bacon to a crisp and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
- Cook macaroni pasta in salted water according to package directions, until al dente.
- Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining the pasta.
- Drain the pasta water into a second pot and return the pot to the stovetop.
- Add the broccoli to the hot water and cook over medium-high for 3-4 minutes, until just fork tender and then drain. (Alternately, you can just use the second pot and cook the broccoli at the same time.)
- While the broccoli is cooking, transfer the pasta to a large bowl.
- Add 1/4 cup pasta water, the yogurt, a few dashes of hot sauce, and 1/3 of the grated cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
- Stir in remaining cheese, one small handful at a time to prevent clumping.
- Add additional pasta water as necessary to thin the cheese sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the broccoli and bacon, mix well, and serve.
Yields: 4 generous servings
Estimated time: 20 minutes