Featured Wisconsin Cheeses: Fontina, Cheddar
As a mom of four kids ranging from nine to eighteen years of age, putting a meal on the table that pleases everyone can be a real challenge. Between myself, my husband and the kids, that’s six palates to please.
Not wanting to be a short order cook, I look for recipes that are simple to make and pleasing to everyone. And I’ve found that macaroni and cheese is the great dinnertime equalizer.
Everyone likes macaroni and cheese. A versatile dish that can be customized to any taste, macaroni and cheese allows me to feed the kids a dish that they will gladly eat while not compromising my own desires for quality ingredients that I too will enjoy.
BLT macaroni and cheese is a nod to that philosophy. A dish that pleases everyone with the familiar and satisfying flavors of a BLT sandwich. You just can’t go wrong with bacon, Wisconsin Cheese and pasta. Kid pleasers for sure. But it also satisfies my more mature palate with the creamy Wisconsin Fontina and Cheddar Cheese sauce. A win-win dish for all members of the family!
BLT Mac-n-Cheese (Bacon, Leeks and Tomato)
10 ounces radiator pasta or other short pasta
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
1/2 tablespoon dry powdered mustard
4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Wisconsin Fontina Cheese, cubed
1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 slices thick cut slab bacon
1 leek, finely diced
3 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Drain and set aside.
In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook 3-4 minutes; whisking frequently. Add mustard and milk, whisking to incorporate. Slowly add cheese, salt and pepper; whisking to combine. Reduce heat to low and cook 3 minutes.
In large skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel to drain; reserving 1 tablespoon bacon drippings. Crumble bacon once cool.
Saute leeks in reserved bacon drippings until translucent. Add bacon, leeks and tomatoes to cheese mixture. Stir gently to combine.
Pour pasta into buttered 2-quart baking dish; pour cheese sauce over top. Gently stir to combine. Bake 35 minutes or until top is golden and bubbly.
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