For some, mac and cheese may be a bit heavy for this time of year, but it’s also one of the most Googled side dishes for weekend barbecues. Gina Ferwerda, recipe developer and cookbook author has a recipe with a twist for us as she adds asparagus and bacon for a seasonal touch.
Asparagus & Bacon Mac-N-Cheese Serves 6-8
- 1 pound cavatappi pasta
- 6-8 slices bacon, cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into bite size piece
Cheese sauce Ingredients:
- 2 cups milk
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon House Seasoning (salt, pepper, granulated garlic, onion & smoked paprika)
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided use
- 1 cup freshly shredded white sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup melted butter
- Garnish (Optional)
- Chopped scallions
- Chopped tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Cook pasta according to package directions, then drain and set aside.
PREPARE BACON & ASPARAGUS
In a large skillet, add bacon and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Add asparagus and continue to cook for another 3 minutes, then add a pinch of salt. Remove bacon and asparagus with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.
MAKE CHEESE SAUCE
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together milk, heavy cream, House Seasoning and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and keep warm.
In a large saucepan, add butter and onion, and cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in flour and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Slowly add cream mixture, whisking continually. Once the mixture thickens, stir in cheeses and remove from heat. Stir in asparagus and bacon. Add to pasta and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, mix together breadcrumbs and melted butter.
Pour cheesy pasta into a baking dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over pasta and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm.