"I suppose this dish reflects my personality—after living in the United States for so many years, I've truly become an Irish Yank! This version of mac and cheese blends my two homes, with Irish dairy in a classic American dish." — Stuart O'Keeffe
- 1 pound elbow macaroni, or your favorite pasta
- 1 tablespoon canola oil, if eliminating bacon for vegetarian version
- 5 slices bacon, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons Irish butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 ½ cups milk
- 5 cups grated sharp white Irish cheddar cheese
- 2 cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta 2 minutes less than the package instructs. Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon until it begins to crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 1 more minute. Remove garlic and bacon to a plate, and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt butter in the bacon drippings over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute until a paste forms. While continuously whisking, add the milk in slow increments until completely incorporated into the flour paste. Cook until thickened and smooth, about 8-10 minutes.
Add in the cheddar and 1 cup parmesan cheese in thirds, until it has melted and becomes a velvety sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add the reserved pasta, peas and bacon-garlic mixture to the sauce.
Pour and scrape the macaroni into a 13x9-inch baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cup Parmesan and place in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Serve.
Excerpt from The Quick Six Fix by Stuart O'Keeffe. Copyright © 2017 by Stuart O'Keeffe. Used with permission by William Morrow Cookbooks. All rights reserved.