Bacon and Leek Mac 'n' Cheese
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
- 3 to 4 medium leeks, halved lengthwise then sliced 1/2-inch thick, rinsed and dried
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk, warmed
- A few grates of fresh nutmeg
- 1 box cavatappi (hollow corkscrew-shaped pasta) or penne rigate pasta
- 1 1/2 cups grated Emmentaler Swiss cheese or Gruyère
- 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1 round tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
Heat oven to 375°F. Arrange bacon on a slotted broiler pan and bake until crisp, 15-18 minutes. Remove and chop; reserve.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat; add leeks and garlic, and sauté 5 minutes. Deglaze with wine or stock; allow liquid to almost evaporate and reserve over low heat.
In a sauce pot over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook 1 minute, add warm milk and simmer at a gentle bubble to thicken. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Season boiling water with salt and cook pasta to al dente.
Stir Swiss or Gruyère and cheddar into white sauce; remove from heat and stir in Dijon.
Combine pasta with bacon, leeks and cheese sauce. Place in a baking dish or casserole and top with Parm. Brown under broiler or cool and bake off from room temperature at 375°F until brown and bubbly.
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