Bacon Mac and Cheese with Brussels Sprouts

Oh how I missed my food blog. But I am back with an AMAZING recipe!

I saw Rachael Ray make this on Food Network and I just had to try it. I stuck really close to her recipe, except that I cut it in half, to serve only about 3 people. If you compare our recipes you will see that we didn’t cut EVERYTHING in half, such as garlic, because we really love it. It came out perfectly delightful.

I must also note that I had never had Brussels sprouts in my life, but when I saw it cooked in bacon AND mac and cheese, I thought it would be the perfect disguise to get my fixing of veggies in. And now I actually like them and will try them in more of my everyday dishes. So give it a try, even if you think you don’t like them!

*Full recipe at the bottom of this post.

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F.

With a sharp paring knife, core the Brussels sprouts and separate the leaves; place in a large bowl.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the brussel sprout leaves for about 2 minutes. Remove, drain and cool. Dry the leaves on paper towel. Add more water to fill the pot back up for the pasta, return to a boil.

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Heat a saucepan over medium heat; add the oil and brown the bacon. Remove and drain. Pour off most of the drippings, then add the butter and melt. Add the garlic and onions, stir 5 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper, then stir in the flour for 1 minute. Whisk in the wine to deglaze the pan. Whisk in the stock and then the milk. Season with a little bit of nutmeg. Thicken the sauce to coat the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat to low.

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Boil the pasta to just shy of al dente, 5 to 6 minutes, drain.

Stir two-thirds each of the Cheddar, gruyere and Parmigiano-Reggiano into the sauce in a figure-eight motion. (You may need to move the sauce to a larger pan, like me!) Drain the pasta, then toss with the Brussels sprouts, bacon and sauce.

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Mix well until everything is coated and pour into a baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese. Place into the oven and bake until heated through and bubbly and brown on top, at least 10 minutes (I liked my sauce with the a similar consistency to that of fettuccine Alfredo, but if you want it crunchier on top, then keep it in the oven longer).

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Enjoy!

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Bacon Mac and Cheese with Brussels Sprouts

Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cups Brussels sprouts
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (we only had 2% on hand, so that will work as well)
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 pound penne
  • 1/2 cup shredded white sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup shredded gruyere
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. With a sharp paring knife, core the Brussels sprouts and separate the leaves; place in a large bowl.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the brussel sprout leaves for about 2 minutes. Remove, drain and cool. Dry the leaves on paper towel. Add more water to fill the pot back up for the pasta, return to a boil.
  4. Heat a saucepan over medium heat; add the oil and brown the bacon. Remove and drain. Pour off most of the drippings, then add the butter and melt. Add the garlic and onions, stir 5 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper, then stir in the flour for 1 minute. Whisk in the wine to deglaze the pan. Whisk in the stock and then the milk. Season with a little bit of nutmeg. Thicken the sauce to coat the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat to low.
  5. Boil the pasta to just shy of al dente, 5 to 6 minutes, drain.
  6. Stir two-thirds each of the Cheddar, gruyere and Parmigiano-Reggiano into the sauce in a figure-eight motion. (You may need to move the sauce to a larger pan, like me!) Drain the pasta, then toss with the Brussels sprouts, bacon and sauce.
  7. Mix well until everything is coated and pour into a baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese. Place into the oven and bake until heated through and bubbly and brown on top, at least 10 minutes (I liked my sauce with the a similar consistency to that of fettuccine Alfredo, but if you want it crunchier on top, then keep it in the oven longer).