macaroni and cheeseThere's nothing more comforting than a piping hot dish of homemade macaroni and cheese straight from the oven. This version calls for sharp white cheddar cheese, bacon, and peas so it's a complete meal in and of itself. Plus, it's from Tyler Florence so you know it's got to be good.

Ultimate Mac 'N Cheese With Peas and Bacon by Tyler Florence

  • Salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups warm milk
  • 5 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water

Cook macaroni until al dente. Drain.

Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps form forming.  Gradually whisk in the milk and, whisking vigorously, cook until the mixture is thick and smooth.

Stir in the 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley and fold that all in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 ½ cups cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the bacon, onion, garlic and thyme and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onion. Fold in the peas and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, scatter the pea and bacon mixture over the mac and cheese.  Use a big spoon to scoop out servings, making sure you get some of the smoking pea mixture on each spoonful.

 

Image via Geoff Peters 604/Flickr