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Sharp Cheddar Mac & Cheese with Crispy Bacon and Spinach

Traditional macaroni noodles with creamy sharp cheddar and Havarti sauce, studded with crispy bacon and baby spinach.
Difficulty: Medium
Time: 30-35 min
Calories: 816 Fat: 46g Carbs: 63g Protein: 40g

There’s almost nothing better than mac and cheese…except when it’s quick and perfectly accented by crispy bacon and some healthy spinach. High five for on-the-table-fast comfort food.

Ingredients
Large macaroni
Flour
Spinach
Green Onions
Bacon
White Cheddar
Heavy Cream
Havarti cheese

Cooking terms for this recipe

Al Dente Literally “to the tooth”. Describes the ideal texture of cooked pasta that leaves it with a slight bite, rather than becoming mushy.
Render To extract (fat) by melting.
Roux A cooked mixture of flour and fat used as a thickening agent.

What you need

Medium pot

Medium sauté pan

Cooking Instructions

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Step 1: MISE EN PLACE

Read through entire recipe before getting started. Bring 6 cups salted water to a boil in a medium pot. Wash and dry all produce. Remove root end from green onion and discard; mince. Finely chop Havarti. Dice bacon into small pieces.

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Step 2: COOK PASTA

Add elbow macaroni to boiling water, stir a few time to keep from sticking. Cook for 8-10 min until pasta is al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water. Drain well and set aside.

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Step 3: CRISP BACON

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When pan is hot add bacon, stirring occasionally, and sear until crispy, 8-10 min. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, placing on a paper towel lined plate. Reserve 2 Tbsp. of rendered fat; discard the remaining fat.

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Step 4: MAKE SAUCE

Add 2 Tbsp. rendered bacon fat back to medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add flour and stir to make roux. Cook roux for 1 min; you should have the consistency of wet sand. Slowly add reserved pasta water while stirring vigorously to avoid clumping. Bring sauce to a simmer, reduce to low, add heavy cream and both cheeses. Stir constantly until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth and creamy. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.

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Step 5: FINISH SAUCE

Add bacon, green onion and spinach; mix until spinach has wilted slightly. Add cooked pasta to sauce; mix well until coated.

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Step 6: PLATE YOUR DISH

Divide your creamy mac and cheese between two bowls. Enjoy!