Featured Wisconsin Cheeses: Provolone, Asiago
Few things more satisfying than enjoying a BLT sandwich slathered with mayonnaise and piled high with fresh tomatoes and crispy bacon. It’s one of my favorite sandwiches, and I tend to reserve it for ordering at a restaurant when I’m out to lunch with friends or my husband.
One of my favorite renditions of the classic sandwich is served at a small restaurant in Manhattan. It’s loaded with fresh arugula, thick, pepper-crusted bacon and a whole grain mustard aioli that is out of this world.
Using that as inspiration, I used the same ingredients to pay homage to one of my other favorite foods, macaroni and cheese. With the addition of some caramelized shallots, this stove top version is the best of both dishes. It’s quick to prepare making it a great choice for a weeknight dinner. I roasted some cherry tomatoes in the oven over the course of the afternoon and used those in the mac and cheese. But, if that seems like too much of a fuss, feel free to substitute with jarred sun-dried tomatoes. No one will be the wiser and it will taste just as delicious!
BLT Macaroni and Cheese
10 ounces fusilli or similar pasta
8 ounces thick-cut peppered bacon
1/4 cup shallots (about 2 small), diced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Wisconsin Provolone Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin Asiago Cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon dry powdered mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) fresh arugula, roughly chopped
3/4 cup roasted or sun-dried tomatoes*
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well; set aside.
In heavy bottomed skillet, fry bacon over medium heat until well done and crisp. Remove from skillet to drain on paper towel. When cool enough to handle, crumble and set aside.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease from skillet. Heat grease over medium heat; add shallots. Cook until soft and slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly, until mixture is golden, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth.
Increase heat to medium-high and bring sauce to boil; reduce heat and let simmer, stirring frequently, until smooth and thickened, about 10 minutes. Add shredded cheeses, stirring until melted. Add dry mustard and salt and pepper to taste.
Remove sauce from heat and stir in arugula and cooked noodles. Stir in all but handful tomatoes and bacon. Divide mac and cheese between 6-8 bowls. Garnish with reserved bacon and tomatoes; serve immediately.
*To roast tomatoes, halve two pints cherry tomatoes and place cut- side- up on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch salt. Roast at 250°F 2-3 hours.
Print This Post
Leave a Reply