Bacon and Brussels Sprout Mac and Cheese

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 15 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 55 min
YIELD: 6 servings as an entree or 10 to 12 as starter or side
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

  • 4 cups Brussels sprouts, on the larger side, or 1 large stalk
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 4 ounces center-cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound cavatappi, hollow short curls of pasta with lines, or penne
  • 1 cup shredded white sharp Cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

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

Heat a large pot of water to boil and salt the water. Parboil the leaves to tender crisp, 2 minutes. Remove with a spider, drain and cool. Dry the leaves on a kitchen towel. Add more water to fill the pot back up for the pasta, return to a boil.

Heat a saucepot over medium heat; add the EVOO 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 saucepot. 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.

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. Drain the pasta, then toss with the Brussels sprouts, bacon and sauce, and pour into a baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal, or bake to serve. Place into the oven and bake until heated through and bubbly and brown on top.
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